The Ongoing Search for a Home

Fourteen years ago, a young man from New Brunswick boarded a bus and ended up in Ottawa. He waited patiently at the bus station. Finally someone realized that he had been there for several hours and offered help. He didn’t know where he was or what to do.

The police were called and Adam ended up at The Ottawa Mission. Since then, Adam has been a full-time resident at The Mission. He is a gentle man who has multiple issues, which prevent him from living on his own.

He needs to be reminded to shower, eat properly, and wear warm clothing in the winter. So he stays with us, and we take care of him. Adam is not alone. There are an estimated 50 chronically homeless individuals living at The Mission today – people with mental or physical issues, or a lack of life skills, which limit their housing options.

The average length of stay for this group is 4 years. Living in a crowded shelter for a long period of time robs people of their independence and self-confidence. Shelters are meant to be used on an emergency or short-term basis. Our dream is to offer Adam and others like him long term housing.

Many would fit into a community model, which offers a small private room with a bathroom. The building would have common areas for skills development, communal activities, and opportunities to reintegrate into the community.

We believe that some of these residents could eventually move on to a home of their own and perhaps, with training, find employment. The first step is moving out of the shelter.