A recent Hamilton Community Foundation grant to a new partnership project called the City of Hamilton Home Improvement Project (CHHIP) is like making two grants in one.
The program brings together the City’s Neighbourhood Action Strategy, CityHousing Hamilton, Threshold School of Building and the Foundation, and works toward a dual purpose: providing job skills to unemployed young people aged 18 to 29, while improving social housing space.
The participants are drawn primarily from the City of Hamilton’s priority neighbourhoods. They receive two weeks of training in basic construction skills, and then put knowledge into practice helping to renovate some of CityHousing’s units over the course of six months. The improvements allow the units, vacant due to disrepair, to eventually be used again as social housing.
One of CHHIP’s goals is to break down barriers to quality employment training opportunities. Along with providing the practical short-term supports that are often needed to work in construction– things like boots, a hard hat and a bus pass to get to the site – CHHIP also helps participants look to the longer term. It offers the opportunity to obtain high school credits and connects participants with resume preparation, job search and employment counselling services once the program is completed.
There’s also an intrinsic value to the work, as participants have reported increased self-worth and self-confidence to enter the job market. As participant Robin Pringle recently told the CBC, “you get to see your hard work at the end of the day and you can say ‘look at what I did’. And that’s a good feeling.”
Excerpt from Legacy Fall newsletter