Toronto Star ePaper

Hamilton nurses offered housing


A property management and development company is offering affordable housing to nurses working at a Hamilton hospital network that is so short of staff it has more than 700 nursing jobs it can’t fill.

A limited number of one- and two-bedroom rental units in west Hamilton will be available in March or April to nurses employed by Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) who have a total annual household income of $92,500 or less.

“It’s an intriguing strategy for recruitment and retention,” said Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). “I’m not certain that it is the most effective one, though.”

The professional association has never heard of a similar offer being made to nurses living in a major city and neither has the Ontario Nurses’ Association, which is a union with 68,000 members.

Usually help with housing is limited to remote or rural communities trying to compete for nurses with big cities.

“We hear about the cost of living,” Grinspun said. “If you talk about big cities … there is the issue of how expensive is housing, the parking to go to work, and child care … The real issue here is compensation and benefits.”

Registered nurses make a top salary of $90,000 to $93,000 under a central agreement with most Ontario hospitals. Which means university-educated nurses at the top of the pay grid who are the sole earners for their family could qualify for the affordable rental units.

Hamilton has seen rents jump by eight per cent in October from the same time last year to an average of $2,044 a month, according to a national rent report from property listing service

One-bedroom apartments cost an average of $1,868, while two-bedrooms go for an average of $2,229.

No information was provided on what the company, Greenwin, will charge for the affordable rental units, which are not guaranteed to all nurses who apply.





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