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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How running saved my life: From 26 ounces to 26 miles

By Rob MacDonald, Housing Help   As I prepare for the National Capital Race Weekend in 2016, I am in my thirty seventh year of running. Regardless of all the years and miles, every race is still a time for reflection on how it all began and how running saved my life at a young age. I ran my first marathon in 1981 and clocked a 2:55 time at the finish line.  The cheering and thunderous applause was overwhelming to this novice in his first race. However, the story didn’t begin or end there. Two years earlier, it was a much more depressing time in my life.  I had just lost my partner to suicide, my best friend had been killed in a car accident, and another friend had decided to take her own life while four months pregnant. For myself, I was prone to depression and had also survived a suicide attempt. Grieving the loss of my partner back in those days was the most horrible, isolating experience one could ever imagine.  It was a gay relationship and, like so many others back then, it was a very closeted affair.  When my partner took his life, I had no one to turn to, and no one fully understood the magnitude of my loss. I grieved in solitude, in silence and tremendous pain. […]

May 26th, 2016|Categories: Ask Me Ottawa|3 Comments

“A House is the Beginning of Everything”: Amanda Ryan’s experience with Families First

By Jasmine Stamos Photo: Amanda Ryan, Case Worker and Child and Youth Liaison with Families First program Amanda Ryan can pinpoint the moment she became passionate about providing support for the homeless. “I was working with a young mom who was involved in a violent relationship with a partner. She [...]

April 26th, 2016|Categories: Ask Me Ottawa|0 Comments

Putting the Streets Behind Him: Mike Coe on his Experiences with Homelessness

“Staying at the shelter at night and living on the streets during the day was a disaster…” – Mike, 61 yrs. Mike wears a tie with a tie clip. His long-sleeved shirt always buttoned at the cuffs. His fingernails are trimmed. But, as Mike says, “you don’t have to look [...]

April 12th, 2016|Categories: Ask Me Ottawa|1 Comment