Hamilton City Council passed $125,000 in urgent funding to keep Hamilton’s warming centres open during their December 1, 2020, Emergency and Community Services meeting.

The following is a transcript of the Council debate. [Note: lightly edited for clarity in a written format.]

Ward 4 Councillor Tammy Hwang:

I have a Notice of Motion. Cold Alert Response.

Whereas prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the winter cold alert response was reliant upon existing capacity within emergency shelters, drop-ins and other programs serving vulnerable persons.

Whereas during the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distancing and other factors capacity within these programs was limited.

Whereas provincial COVID-19 pandemic funding was available during the 2021/2022 winter season to fund the activation of new overnight drop-in spaces to support individuals during a cold alert.

Whereas for the 2020 to 2023 winter season capacity pressures within existing services remain.

Whereas provincial COVID-19 funding ends December 31 2022 and will not continue into 2023

Whereas cold alert response was not included within the 2023 housing services division budget.

Whereas lack of additional overnight Cold Alert response could have negative impact on vulnerable persons.

Therefore be it resolved that up to a maximum of $125,000 for the Cold Alert response between December 2022 to March 2023 be funded from any available 2022 Housing Services Division are Healthy and Safe Communities Department surplus or through the tax stabilization reserve number 110046.

B) Should a surplus not be realized, that staff report back to the Emergency and Community Services Committee summarizing whom these funds were allocated and how they were spent in order to address the needs of the community and

C) that the General manager of the Healthy and Safe Communities Department or their designee should be directed and authorized on behalf of the City of Hamilton to enter into execute and administer all agreements and documents necessary to implement the Cold Alert response outlined above on terms and conditions satisfactory to the General Manager of the Healthy and Safe communities Department or their designee and in a form satisfactory to the city, solicitor.

D) that consideration of a contribution up to a maximum of $125,000 annually to support a Cold Alert response be referred to the 2023 Council operating budget deliberations to be funded from the operating levy.

[Council voted to waive rules of notice to allow the motion to be heard]

Clr Hwang:

This was brought as a little bit of a last minute notice but as I had listed in the whereas, funding is ending at the end of December, but we are also in winter and this is by the time this actually hits the next sort of round of ECS [on January 19, 2023] we may or may not have had Cold Alert responses.

Som this is where I would also like to direct to GM [of Healthy and Safety Communities Angela] Burden to add any additional comments.

GM Angela Burden:

Thank you through the chair to the committee.

We are very supportive of this.

I would just have the caveat that we are engaged with community providers and it there is there are capacity challenges with human resources for the overnight service.

So we may or may not be able we have had conversations, we think we have at least one provider that is able to provide the service and we would engage with others to see what we can do in that regard. But our ability to offer the service will depend on provider capacity, but it absolutely is something we support.

Thank you.

[The motion passed unanimously]

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