What is considered a Family?

    Families come in many different configurations and sizes. For the purposes of this consultation, a “family” is considered either a couple with children, a parent or guardian with at least one child, or a multi-generational family with children (i.e. grandparents with grandchildren or a combination of grandparents and parents/guardians with children). This is similar to the definition of a “census family” used by Statistics Canada.

    What is “Family-Friendly” Housing?

    Family-Friendly Housing is commonly referred to as ‘child-friendly’ housing or housing and communities that meet the needs of children and of parents or guardians caring for children. 

     Although the physical housing component is very important, family-friendly housing is more than just a house that is big enough for a family.  Family-friendly housing involves a variety of key elements that together make a place suitable for families to live. Other elements that are important include unit layout and functionality, amenity space indoors and outdoors, available neighbourhood services and amenities and ensuring that neighbourhood streets and public realm spaces are safe for children.

    What actions are being considered to support Family-Friendly Housing in Hamilton?

    A variety of different approaches are being considered.  These approaches include initiatives such as policy amendments, new zoning standards, design guidelines, and others. Eleven possible actions were outlined in the discussion paper released in September 2021, and are as listed: 

    1. Add policy language to the Official Plan about meeting the housing needs of families with children and larger households.
    1. Add policy language to the Official Plan promoting the use of flexible unit layouts that can be adapted over time to meet the changing needs of residents.
    1. Add specific targets for family sized units in new high density developments to the Official Plan to promote an adequate supply of housing, particularly in intensification areas. 
    1. Implement Zoning requirements for family sized units (ie. 3 bedrooms) in new high density developments. This action would need to be implemented in conjunction with targets applied in the Official Plan (See action 3).
    1. Define a “family-oriented dwelling unit” or “unit suitable for larger household sizes” in the Zoning By-law and develop zoning requirements for these uses.
    1. Require shared outdoor play areas or public-private open spaces with play areas in the Zoning By-law, for housing types where private yards are not provided or are minimal. 
    1. For multiple dwellings, require indoor communal amenity space in addition to outdoor space in the Zoning By-law.
    1. Create design guidelines for outdoor amenity areas.
    1. Create family-friendly design guidelines for the interior design of high-rise buildings and units.
    1. Conduct neighbourhood assessments to identify how child-friendly a neighbourhood is and develop focused action plans or strategies for improvements.
    1. Require a Housing Options report to be submitted as part of a complete application under the Planning Act, to collect information about proposed housing unit types, sizes, number of bedrooms and anticipated price ranges.

    Does this project look at how to create affordable housing in the City of Hamilton?

    Although affordability is an important consideration in the context of housing need, addressing the issue of affordability is outside of the scope of this project.   This project is focused only on how to create an appropriate supply of family-friendly housing and ensuring that new developments and wider neighbourhood areas are planned in a manner that supports the needs of families.  However, it is acknowledged that providing an adequate supply of high quality housing that meets the needs of families may have a positive impact on affordability.