In January 2020, the City of Ottawa declared a housing and homelessness emergency in the nation’s capital — just a few weeks before our lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, individuals, businesses and foundations have responded to the increasing needs of the most vulnerable in our community by supporting The Ottawa Mission. Their gifts have made an incredible impact for those who are experiencing homelessness, hunger and poverty in Ottawa. Thank you for supporting the lives of people who are struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re so grateful for your help in keeping our shelter clean and safe for our guests! Even prior to the pandemic, The Mission’s reputation for cleanliness was renowned. Clean, reliable, and safe access to shelter space provides dignity and a sense of community to people experiencing homelessness.
During COVID-19, cleaning and safety protocols became even more critical. Thanks to your support, we have access to cleaning supplies, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, masks for guests, plexiglass installations, and other modifications to adhere to physical distancing and safety guidelines. Thanks to you, we’re able to continue our support for the most vulnerable members of our community during the pandemic.
Access to adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front-line workers is critical to our ability to care for our most vulnerable community members during COVID-19. Thanks to your support, we have access to PPE such as masks, gowns, shields and gloves for our staff and volunteers.
These supplies allow us to serve meals for people who are hungry and to provide life-saving health care at the DYMON Health Clinic. This equipment also makes it possible for us to offer loving care to people in our Hospice and give safe refuge and life-changing care to people experiencing homelessness. Thank you for helping us protect our front-line workers!
Prior to the pandemic, The Mission served an average of 1,422 meals daily in our dining room. In March, we quickly pivoted to serving community meals from our loading dock to ensure the safety of our guests and community clients.
In August, the Mission Mobile Meals (MMM) Food Truck was launched to distribute hot, prepared meals to people who are unable to travel to our shelter for food. With your support, The Mission is now serving 2,297 meals daily to people experiencing food insecurity. Thank you for providing hot and nutritious food to hungry people across Ottawa!
During COVID-19, The Mission has continued to provide services that extend beyond basic needs. Recently, we purchased iPads for hospice patients to stay in touch with family and loved ones, and for residents in our Addictions & Trauma services (ATS) program to continue their treatment.
We’ve invested in webcams and other technology to ensure that our staff are able to communicate virtually and respond immediately to urgent priorities. We’ve also acquired resources that provide virtual one-on-one teaching support through our Stepping Stones Learning Centre. And it’s all because of you — thank you for providing access to life-changing support!
Dean is a 61-year-old man from Brockville who has worked hard to maintain his sobriety for several years. But the burden of grief from losing five loved ones in a very short time, including his mother and his brother, drove him to return to using alcohol to cope with his pain.
In late 2019, after he decided to give up drinking, he divscovered a lack of services in Brockville, and made the decision to travel to Ottawa to seek help here.
The first night he arrived, he had to sleep on a mat on our chapel floor given the chronic overcapacity of our shelter due to the lack of affordable housing in Ottawa.
Dean spent four months in an emergency shelter dorm room with seven other clients. He admits that living in close quarters with this many people could be challenging.
“I would sometimes think about leaving, but not until after lunch,” he notes with a smile — a testimony to how good Chef Ric’s meals are at The Mission.
Soon, Dean was admitted to our Addiction and Trauma Services program, where he stayed for almost six months. The Mission then helped him secure a new apartment close to our shelter, so that he could return for meals and support.
“The people here have been just outstanding,” Dean says of the support that has helped him stabilize and renew his life.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in Ottawa, Dean says, “I felt as safe here as I would in a hospital.” And he appreciates the efforts Mission staff underwent to find innovative ways to continue to deliver essential programs. “This place has been a Godsend. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be sober without it,” Dean says.
Your gifts have given Dean a new home and new life. Thank you so much for your generous support.
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