Changing Lives, Every Day

Whether it is in one of our affordable housing communities, at one of our drop-in day programs or our emergency downtown women's shelter, or in the consultation rooms of our experienced counsellors and psychotherapists; whether it’s someone struggling with mental illness or fleeing abuse, the hallmarks of Community Ministries of Ottawa are the easy welcome and the opportunity to access a network of practical help available for the people who walk through our doors – choosing hope.

We are here for them – one conversation, bowl of stew, card game, load of laundry, quiet room, phone call, workshop or joke at a time. Together we are pushing back despair and supporting each success—large or small—one step at a time.

Every day we see that the most powerful opportunities to heal feelings, bodies and lives come from loving, caring relationships and a sense of belonging. Our volunteers, counsellors and employees are adept at building such relationships in unassuming ways.

As a result, life improves in Ottawa: neighbourhoods settle down and pitch in as public health indicators receive a boost. Each success builds strength in our community.

Community Ministries of Ottawa consists of five social service agencies. Each in its own way and with its own people addresses social problems that are common in a city like ours.


In 2013, more than 6,700 men, women and children were homeless in Ottawa.

Our Community Ministries offer:
• safe places away from the street
• meals and emergency food
• emergency shelter and safe, affordable housing for women
• life skills training and access to healthcare
• help navigating a transition into housing

We are committed to providing food for those who are hungry and to helping all participants develop good nutritional practices:
• over 200,000 meals served each year
• advice for people with diabetes and special needs
• cooking classes
• guidance for people in a housing transition and on a tight budget to meet the challenge of buying and preparing nutritious meals

Many of the people visiting our centres struggle with mental health challenges. We provide:
• counselling services
• spiritual care
• access to mental health professionals
• non-judgmental, stigma-free environment

To all, we offer support and encouragement, and qualities too often in short supply on our streets — respect, dignity, a sense of belonging, and the assurance that somebody cares:
• a safe place to go today
• help in finding the motivation to reconcile with family and friends
• the skills and stability to find a job and move into permanent housing.