About HATS

Hamilton is in the midst of a deplorable housing and homelessness crisis. Too many people are living rough in tent encampments or trying to survive in the recesses of buildings or alleys.

HATS (Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters) was founded as a temporary solution by community members who want to do something about this desperate emergency.

Kitchener’s Better Tent City

We were inspired by Kitchener’s ‘A Better Tent City’
an award-winning model that now
offers 50 residents warm and safe homes, supported
by wrap-around services.
Watch their story below:

Video production by Ken Galloway

The following organizations are represented on the HATS steering committee:

Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
(our Administrative lead & financial reporting)

Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

Wesley Urban Ministries

Native Women’s Centre

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic

First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, Housing Committee

Our interim community solution brings together:

∙Dedicated advocates

∙Front line services

∙People who are experiencing homelessness

∙Social justice oriented non-profit organizations

∙Front-line experts

∙Medical professionals

∙City and public institutions

∙Local community organizations

∙Private individuals and business people

∙Faith groups


Housing is the PRIMARY social determinant of health.

Aside from the obvious human need to shelter from harsh weather and elements, people need a place to call home to feel whole – and to meet all our other most basic needs.

Although HATS is not in place of housing, it’s a shelter model grounded in the “housing first” principles.

Resident voices will lead the design, culture and evolution of the cabin community. They’ll be supported by staff and volunteers, as well as existing support services who already work with unhoused people.

The many additional benefits of this community include:

  • A permanent location enables greater connectivity to services that often times lost due to transiency;
  • Stability can also result in reconnection to family and friends;
  • Increased access to routine medical attention and general preventative and routine health care;
  • Increased personal safety from violence;
  • A sense of belonging in community;
  • Greater autonomy and control over life;
  • Eradicating transiency opens greater time and space to address other health and life issues, and is less physically taxing;
  • Increased continuity of access to medications;
  • Increased access to supports to secure and maintain income and income replacement benefits such as Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works;
  • Increased odds of connecting to housing workers and to permanent housing programs as a result of increased stability;
  • Enabling couples to remain together as there is a disproportionate shortage of shelter programs for couples and many are required to separate;
  • Shelter for those who cannot function in congregate settings;
  • Accessible for those with physical limitations;
  • Allowance of occupancy with pets;
  • Observance that substance abuse disorders constitute “disabilities” and that persons living with this disability, along with other disabilities, receive protection from discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which ensures that residents are not “evicted” for disability related behaviours, but rather supported by harm reduction and addiction wrap around services;
  • Eliminating power dynamics between “landlord” and “tenant”;
  • Restorative conflict resolution rather than a punitive model;
  • Reduce the risk of sexual assault;
  • Reduce the need for the exchange of sex for shelter;
Donate button
Help us provide a warm, safe cabin for someone experiencing homelessness. To donate click the above button to visit Canada Helps on the SPRC website. Write “HATS” in the message box.

HATS is a grateful recipient of the Local Love Grant