Most of the people who come to The Ottawa Mission have no desire to spend time at a homeless shelter. They are just like you and me – they have families, and have had homes and jobs in the past. The difference is that circumstances in their lives have left many of them sick and hurting − without a home, without work, without hope. Their priority is to get their life back on track – and that means getting the help they need and, when they are able, finding a job.
The Ottawa Mission has a number of programs to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness who want to rejoin the workforce. Our Client Services Centre offers phone and computer access and workshops on resume writing. The Stepping Stones Learning Centre has a full-time teacher who helps people upgrade their education – working on-line to achieve a high school diploma, or accessing college and university courses. Our 5-month Food Services Training Program gives people the opportunity to gain valuable skills working with professional staff in our kitchen. Many graduates have gone on to pursue careers in the food services industry.
The latest program to be introduced at The Mission is the Custodial Skills Training Program. Developed in 2012 in partnership with the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Catholic School Board, this 8-week program includes classroom and on-the-job training. The first class wrapped up in March, and we are pleased to announce that 13 of the 15 students are now employed.
The success of the first Custodial Training Program session speaks for itself. It has given thirteen people renewed hope – and a chance at a better life.