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Tiny homes are headed to a Hamilton north end park, catching some residents by surprise | CBC News


Two dozen tiny cabins are on track to find a home in a downtown Hamilton park later this year, after councillors voted in support of the two-year pilot project.

The pitch from Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters (HATS) to put up 25 insulated structures at Strachan Linear Park — along Strachan Street East between James and Hughson streets north — was approved at a general issues committee meeting Monday. 

It will be before council later this week for a final vote. 

But residents who live nearby are pushing back. 

Anabel Krupp, who lives on Hughson, said the tiny homes project came as a surprise. 

Consultation to come after council vote

Krupp told the committee that the city and HATS did “zero” consultation with residents and she only learned of the plan a few days ago from media reports. Housing director Michelle Baird confirmed to CBC Hamilton the city will hear residents’ feedback after it’s approved at council. 

Krupp said she was speaking on behalf of about 30 neighbours opposed to the tiny homes location that is 110 metres away from an elementary school. 

“I worry my neighbours and I will be in the midst of an experiment that was never set up to succeed,” said Krupp, speaking as a delegate at the meeting. “We don’t expect solutions to be perfect, but we do expect they will be well thought out by the city.” 

HATS has been pushing for tiny homes for years, but has faced challenges finding a site with willing owners and neighbours. In January, council paused the decision of where the project could be located.

On Monday, Coun. Cameron Krotesch (Ward 2) said there’s no more time for debate — HATS needs to start setting up the tiny shelters before winter. In a statement, he said they’ll be engaging with residents in the coming weeks. 

There’s already encampments along the length of the park, which the tiny shelters would replace, Kroetsch said. The pilot project would mean less people would be living there than are currently. 

Sandra Harse, who lives on James Street North, said the neighbourhood is already struggling with the impacts of the encampment, including discarded needles and people experiencing mental illness and using substances. But that impact is felt mostly over the summer months when children aren’t in school, she said.

“We try to hide what children see on the internet, but they’re going to see it from the school yard,” Harse told CBC Hamilton. “It’s not safe and it’s not fair. This is dangerous.” 

Strachan park best temporary option: city

General manager Jason Thorne told councillors Monday the city considered other locations proposed by HATS such as on the Barton-Tiffany land, in Cathedral Park, or near the former glass plant at Lloyd Street and Gage Avenue. 

However, Strachan Linear Park was a better fit, with uncontaminated land, green space, shade, a paved area and accessible to service providers, Thorne said. 

In two years, the project will likely permanently move to the former Hamilton Scout Shop on James Street South, said Baird.

Tom Cooper is a HATS board member and director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. He told CBC’s Metro Morning on Monday that sleeping in a tiny home is better for residents than sleeping in a tent, which can be more dangerous and pose health issues. 

Metro Morning8:15Housing advocate says plans to build tiny shelters in Hamilton can be a solution for hundreds of people

Tom Cooper is the Director of Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.

Tiny homes will be a place for residents to find stability as they wait for permanent housing, Cooper said.

They’re fully insulated cabins equipped with a microwave, small fridge, storage and bed, he said. Residents are given a key to their home. 

In the midst of a homelessness emergency with almost 1,700 unhoused people in Hamilton, 25 shelters are “a bit of a drop in the bucket but a good model for moving forward if successful,” Cooper said. 

HATS will fund the project through private donations.


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