The Ask Me campaign shares the stories behind the people that make up the homeless community in Ottawa. By learning about homelessness from the people closest to it – those experiencing homelessness, volunteers, and community workers – we can highlight what is working and what is needed in our efforts to end homelessness. This is where the conversation begins.

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Terrie Meehan: Barriers only exist if we let them exist

Photo by Dr Peter Stockdale Terrie loves chocolate and her service dog, who spends most of his time snuggling up against her shoulder. She takes the bus to get to her doctor's appointment downtown and is not really fond of snow piles on the streets of Ottawa's. I [...]

October 6th, 2017|Categories: Ask Me Ottawa, Hometown150|0 Comments

Giving the essentials: The Backpacks for the Homeless initiative

By Erin Dej On Christmas Eve this year 2,300 people experiencing homelessness in Ottawa are expected to receive backpacks filled with hygiene products, clothing, treats, and a Tim Hortons gift card thanks to an initiative created by Ron Pitre. On October 15, 2012 Ron’s house caught fire and he lost [...]

November 16th, 2016|Categories: Ask Me Ottawa|3 Comments

Centre 454 – An Integral Part of the Community

By Sarina Bhaiwala If you stop by Centre 454 anytime during the week, you’ll find a blossoming garden and welcoming community. First established in the basement of St. Alban’s church in 1945, the day program is one of five community ministries of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. Centre 454 offers drop-in support services and social activities for individuals who are precariously housed or homeless in Ottawa. Although the Centre changed locations to Murray Street more than a decade ago, it returned to its original location on King Edward in 2012 after receiving city and diocesan funding to restore St. Alban’s basement. This decision was accompanied by some concerns from the surrounding neighbourhood. Residents feared the Centre would bring drug use, vandalism, litter, and conflict with residents. Jen Crawford, the Executive Director of Centre 454, understands where the community’s worries stemmed from. With all the social service agencies in this area, “there is already a lot of action going on,” she said. The Centre was aware of these concerns, and was proactive in building a positive relationship with the surrounding community after the move. The staff worked to quell the misunderstandings regarding the Centre and its visitors; they committed to doing a walk around the building every morning to make sure there was no garbage and that everything was in order. “It’s three years later and our staff still do it,” said Crawford. The Centre has also participated in the citywide “Cleaning the Capital” event every year to clean the three-block radius that surrounds its property. […]

September 14th, 2016|Categories: Ask Me Ottawa|1 Comment