Julia Kollek
President, HATS

It’s cold out, and it’s going to get much colder very soon. With winter approaching, the crisis facing many of our neighbours who are living unhoused needs to be addressed.

Life is expensive for everybody, but rents are higher than they ever have been in Hamilton, and for some, that’d meant the inability to afford an apartment.

Many people who have never been homeless before are finding themselves on the streets for the first time. Shelters are often at capacity, and while new investments in supportive housing have been announced by the government, it will take time to build those housing units. People need safety and warmth this winter.

A new idea has emerged to address the crisis facing our homeless neighbours. Earlier this year, a group of community volunteers and local organizations came together to form the Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters (HATS).

The initiative would involve building a small, temporary community of tiny cabins to help stabilize people who are already living unhoused in our neighbourhoods.

These cabins are intended as temporary, personalized shelters for people who need a safe, warm space. They would be eight by ten feet in area, and include a heater, microwave, and small fridge along with a sleeping platform with a mattress. It’s a lockable space and community organizations would provide support services, including medical care and skills training to assist those living at the site.

Hamilton’s first tiny home community will be located on a small parking lot in the Barton and Sherman area and include up to ten cabins along with a kitchen facility and an onsite washroom and shower trailer. The site will be temporary as a new building development is planned for the location in the near future. In the meantime, it will provide sanctuary for those with nowhere else to turn.

If you’re interested in learning more about HATS, or volunteering, please visit the website at hamiltontinyshelters.ca