Published on: March 25, 2021
Two organizations hope to turn a former school in Hamilton’s east end into an Indigenous housing and friendship centre.
The Hamilton Regional Indian Centre and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services have initial support of city councillors to do so with the former King George Elementary School site.
They hope to acquire 77 Gage Ave. N. from the city and create a hub there to address Indigenous homelessness through culturally relevant services.
The impacts of historical trauma and enduring racism must be considered when working to end the cycle of homelessness among Indigenous people, Audrey Davis, executive director of the centre, told councillors.
The two agencies are ready to work with planners and architects on the vision for the more-than-century-old school the city has owned since March 2018, said Justin Marchand, executive director of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services.
The “single largest hurdle” the partners face in developing housing “is the acquisition of suitable land,” Marchand said. After that, they’re “confident” in their access to capital financing and reserves.