March 24, 2020

Homeless organizations welcome new Covid19 self-isolation centre for people who are homeless

Ottawa, ON – Monday 23, 2020 – As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold in Ottawa, Ottawa Inner City Health, Ottawa’s emergency shelter providers and the City of Ottawa have come together to create a centre to support self-isolation for people who live in emergency shelters or on the streets. This centre will support the safety and protection of these community members as well as the public at large.

“The health of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness is often compromised, which may leave them more vulnerable to COVID-19,” stated Wendy Muckle, CEO of Ottawa Inner City Health. “So there is serious concern among our organizations that COVID-19 could spread quickly among those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness since shelter residents are not able to self-isolate given their environment.”

“We’ve kept this top of mind as we’ve adjusted our operations to keep shelter residents safe while continuing to provide service to the most vulnerable in our community,” noted Peter Tilley, CEO of the Ottawa Mission. “So far there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the shelter system in Ottawa, which is good news. ”

The self-isolation centre will be located at the Routhier Community Centre located in Lowertown. The facility is fully accessible and will have security and a staff which include peers, personal support workers, nurses and physicians. It is part of the larger emergency response system to the COVID-19 pandemic and is fully integrated with Ottawa’s hospitals, paramedics and the community assessment centre process.

To be eligible to access the centre, applicants must be 19 years of age or older, homeless or at risk of being homeless, or identifying as part of the homeless community, and able to care for themselves in their current situation. Potential applicants will be admitted on the basis of assessment of need through a number of avenues, including the assessment van, the COVID-19 assessment centre at Brewer Park, in hospital, jail or corrections, and through healthcare providers associated with Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Paramedic Services.

Deirdre Freiheit, CEO of the Shepherds of Good Hope, noted the significant impact of COVID-19 on those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Ottawa. “If you’re homeless, even at the best of times, there are very few places to go and be welcomed. Now with everything closed, the emergency situation regarding homelessness in our community is even more difficult.” Kia Rainbow, Executive Director of Cornerstone Housing for Women, noted how COVID-19 impacts women experiencing homelessness. “Women are at even greater risk of violence when they’re isolated from the community; their options to seek help are very limited.”

Marc Provost, Executive Director of the Salvation Army, noted the importance of community outreach to access vulnerable people who may need the new centre. “Potential applicants may arrive at the centre on foot, in the Salvation Army outreach van, with Ottawa police, or by other means. We’re proud to do our part to ensure their protection and protection of the community as a whole.”

“The Routhier Centre for self-isolation is a welcome addition to the COVID-19 response in Ottawa. It will support keeping those who are homeless and ill out of hospitals as well as homeless shelters, both of which are already working at overcapacity,” Ms. Muckle concluded. FOR INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Kate Eggins
Director, Communications and Engagement
The Ottawa Hospital
T: 613-798-5555, x. 74511

Amber Bramer
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Shepherds of Good Hope Shepherds of Good Hope Foundation
T: 613 789 8210 x. 223
C: 613 878 3393

Aileen Leo
Director of Communications
The Ottawa Mission
T 613.234.1144 x 305
C. 613-712-3092

Glenn van Gulik
Area Director, Public Relations (East Region) Divisional Director, Emergency Disaster Services Ontario Central East Division
The Salvation Army, Public Relations Department
P: 613-233-8428 x226
C: 613-868-5560

Jessie-Lee Wallace
CFRE Resource Development Manager Cornerstone Housing for Women
T: (613) 986-6708

Liz Bernstein
Lowertown Community Association
T: (613) 262-1969