At The Ottawa Mission, our lifechanging programs help those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness to rebuild their lives. In 2017-2018:

Why People Can Become Homelessness

The reasons for homelessness are complex, challenging, and longstanding, including:

  • Structural, such as: discrimination based on background; lack of affordable housing; and the impact of colonialism and historical trauma on Canada’s First Peoples.
  • Systemic, such as: barriers to services based on factors such as having a criminal record; and failed transitions from hospital, the correctional system, the child protection system, and the immigration system.
  • Individual, such as: family instability and violence; and physical and mental disabling conditions.

Homelessness in Ottawa

In 2014, the City of Ottawa adopted a 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness that committed to: 1) achieve 40% savings in funding to emergency shelters by 2024; and 2) reinvest these savings into prevention.

Unfortunately, despite efforts, Ottawa is not making progress in ending homelessness. From 2014 – 2017:

  • Overall shelter use increased by 16%
  • Overall length of stay increased by 12%
  • Chronic homelessness increased by 21%

We need to:

  • Integrate services to reduce pathways into homelessness that place individuals at increased risk of homelessness; and
  • Prioritize early intervention and supports for homeless individuals focused on long-term housing solutions.

The Ottawa Mission: More than a Shelter

Beginning as an emergency shelter in 1906, our programs and services have expanded over time into a modern service hub with wraparound health and social services to meet the increasing needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

We provide a full range of services and programs to help shelter residents and community members in need, including:

  • Food, including resident and community meals for those would otherwise go hungry;
  • Shelter, including emergency intake and residential treatment programs;
  • Client Services, including employment and educational support, housing assistance, mental health services, job training and clothing;
  • Addiction & Trauma Services to support recovery;
  • Health Services, including primary, dental and palliative care; and
  • Spiritual care to support healing, hope and a sense of belonging and self-worth.

The need for programs and services offered by the Mission has grown substantially and continues to do so.

Meeting the Need

The following shows figures show the percentages of increases in use of programs and services 2013-2014 to 2017-2018

  • Number of unique individuals sheltered annually: 15%
  • Average number of meals provided daily: 1.3%
  • Annual number of primary care clinic patient visits: 1.4%
  • Number of clients who passed away at the Hospice annually: 36%
  • Number of clients successfully housed: 130%
  • Number of LifeHouse addiction treatment graduates annually: 8%
  • Number of Food Services job training graduates: 122%

In response, our 2015–17 Strategic Plan put forward 4 key initiatives that have already had a positive impact those we serve:

  1. Relocation of our LifeHouse residential addiction treatment program;
  2. Diversion and housing first programs;
  3. Expansion of our hospice; and
  4. The introduction of in-shelter mental health supports.

How You Can Help

To learn more about the impact The Ottawa Mission has on the community, download our 2017-2018 Impact Report: