10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan Refresh

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Ottawa is a growing city, with many people choosing to live, work and play here.

Access to safe, adequate and affordable housing is a key concern in our community. Many Ottawa residents, our neighbours and friends, live on low to moderate incomes and struggle to find housing suitable to their needs that they can afford. Homelessness is increasing even with the success of investments in Housing First, supportive housing and homelessness prevention services.

The City, with the support of our community and other levels of government, needs to ensure that there are a range of housing options and support services available to residents as their needs and circumstances change over time.

A review of the City’s 10-Year Housing and Homelessness plan is underway. We need to hear from you to make sure that our updated plan is responsive to the needs in our community.

Engage Ottawa provides an opportunity for you to share your ideas and to provide feedback on the plan. Tell us what is working well, what needs to change and what innovative ideas you have to ensure that Ottawa is a leader in creating a city where everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.

Make sure to register to learn about housing services in Ottawa and to keep updated on the progress of the 10 Year Plan review.

Please scroll to the bottom of the web page to see all the engagement opportunities and information.

You can provide feedback on the review of the 10-Year Plan through the questions asked in each article or fill out the short survey. The survey is an opportunity to provide input if you do not wish to register for an Engage Ottawa account.

Ottawa is a growing city, with many people choosing to live, work and play here.

Access to safe, adequate and affordable housing is a key concern in our community. Many Ottawa residents, our neighbours and friends, live on low to moderate incomes and struggle to find housing suitable to their needs that they can afford. Homelessness is increasing even with the success of investments in Housing First, supportive housing and homelessness prevention services.

The City, with the support of our community and other levels of government, needs to ensure that there are a range of housing options and support services available to residents as their needs and circumstances change over time.

A review of the City’s 10-Year Housing and Homelessness plan is underway. We need to hear from you to make sure that our updated plan is responsive to the needs in our community.

Engage Ottawa provides an opportunity for you to share your ideas and to provide feedback on the plan. Tell us what is working well, what needs to change and what innovative ideas you have to ensure that Ottawa is a leader in creating a city where everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.

Make sure to register to learn about housing services in Ottawa and to keep updated on the progress of the 10 Year Plan review.

Please scroll to the bottom of the web page to see all the engagement opportunities and information.

You can provide feedback on the review of the 10-Year Plan through the questions asked in each article or fill out the short survey. The survey is an opportunity to provide input if you do not wish to register for an Engage Ottawa account.

  • What is Ottawa's plan for housing and homelessness?

    26 days ago

    The Province of Ontario requires municipalities to develop, implement and monitor a 10-year plan for housing and homelessness that responds to local needs and achieves municipal and provincial objectives.

    In 2013, City Council approved a new housing and homelessness plan, A Home for Everyone: Our 10-Year Plan, 2014 to 2024. The plan was developed through extensive consultations with stakeholders and the community. The plan is a commitment that individuals, organizations and governments will collaborate to ensure that Ottawa’s residents have access to a safe and affordable home with the support they need to remain housed.

    The City originally aimed...

    The Province of Ontario requires municipalities to develop, implement and monitor a 10-year plan for housing and homelessness that responds to local needs and achieves municipal and provincial objectives.

    In 2013, City Council approved a new housing and homelessness plan, A Home for Everyone: Our 10-Year Plan, 2014 to 2024. The plan was developed through extensive consultations with stakeholders and the community. The plan is a commitment that individuals, organizations and governments will collaborate to ensure that Ottawa’s residents have access to a safe and affordable home with the support they need to remain housed.

    The City originally aimed to achieve the following outcomes by 2024:

    • Everyone has access to safe, temporary shelter.
    • There is no chronic homelessness.
    • No one stays in an emergency shelter for more than 30 days.
    • Community and affordable housing are in a state of good repair.
    • New development increases access to suitable and affordable housing.
    • Residents receive financial support to help make housing affordable.
    • People get the supports they need to find and keep housing.

    The City is currently updating the plan to respond to changes in our housing market and residents’ needs.

    Did you know that Ottawa has a plan for housing and homelessness?

    10-Year Housing and Homeless Plan Mid-Point Refresh

    The Province requires that the City review and update its 10-Year Plan for Housing and Homelessness every five years. The update must include broad consultation, including with people who have experienced homelessness.

    The City launched the plan five years ago, so the mid-point review is underway. The review includes:

    1. Looking at our current and future housing needs
    2. Creating new objectives and targets that meet our housing needs
    3. Reviewing how we will achieve the plan’s goals
    4. Deciding how we will measure progress

    Sign-up for ongoing updates as we work with the community to update the plan.

    What should the plan's goals be for the next four years?


  • What is homelessness?

    23 days ago

    When we think of someone who is homeless, we often have an idea in our minds of someone living on the street. But homelessness takes many forms.

    Our recent survey, called a Point-in-Time count, revealed that many people experiencing homelessness in our community are in hospitals, correctional facilities or emergency shelters, or even staying with family or friends. People with no housing security or who are couch surfing are all considered to be experiencing homelessness.

    How did they end up homeless? Those surveyed provided many different reasons and situations, but the leading causes were:

    When we think of someone who is homeless, we often have an idea in our minds of someone living on the street. But homelessness takes many forms.

    Our recent survey, called a Point-in-Time count, revealed that many people experiencing homelessness in our community are in hospitals, correctional facilities or emergency shelters, or even staying with family or friends. People with no housing security or who are couch surfing are all considered to be experiencing homelessness.

    How did they end up homeless? Those surveyed provided many different reasons and situations, but the leading causes were:

    • Addiction issues
    • Inability to pay their rent or mortgage
    • Incarceration
    • Unsafe housing conditions

    Other factors included, domestic violence, family breakdown, loss of employment, aging out of the child welfare system, and a lack of affordable housing and lack of social supports.

    These issues affect all age groups. Anyone can find themselves homeless.

    “Given the current situation in Ottawa, where the vacancy rate remains low at just 1.6 per cent in October 2018, and housing prices and rental rates continue to rise, it can be a struggle for many residents just to keep a roof over their heads,” explained Paul Lavigne, Program Manager of Homelessness Services. “Sometimes life can be unpredictable, and anyone could be unable to find housing. Homelessness does not discriminate. Housing is a basic need and we want all residents to have a place to call home.”

    1. Have you ever experienced homelessness or housing instability?
    2. What supports, or services helped you to end your homelessness or keep you housed?
    3. What are the supports that need to be in place to help someone exit homelessness?

  • What is our emergency shelter system?

    23 days ago

    The City ensures that people experiencing homelessness in our communities are able to access emergency shelters when needed. The City owns and operates one family shelter and partners with eight community shelters to provide a variety of services: a place to sleep, meals, case management and referrals to community supports.

    The City also responds to emergencies, providing temporary housing to residents displaced by events such as fires, floods and tornadoes.

    People experience homelessness for many different reasons, including addiction issues, inability to pay rent or mortgage, incarceration and unsafe housing conditions. Each case is unique and households are...

    The City ensures that people experiencing homelessness in our communities are able to access emergency shelters when needed. The City owns and operates one family shelter and partners with eight community shelters to provide a variety of services: a place to sleep, meals, case management and referrals to community supports.

    The City also responds to emergencies, providing temporary housing to residents displaced by events such as fires, floods and tornadoes.

    People experience homelessness for many different reasons, including addiction issues, inability to pay rent or mortgage, incarceration and unsafe housing conditions. Each case is unique and households are assessed to determine whether they can be diverted from entering a shelter. Diversion is about trying to resolve problems at the front end, before shelter entry, through accessing natural supports. Those supports might include identifying alternate housing, even for the short-term, or connecting people to community and financial resources.

    Only if diversion is not possible does the household enter a shelter. Ottawa has access to 967 permanent shelter beds, 100 permanent transitional housing beds and 422 overflow beds, funded by the City. The City also enters into agreements with hotels and motels for overflow beds when our permanent bed capacity for families is full. Our goal is to ensure people have a safe place to stay.

    The number of households, particularly families, seeking temporary shelter in Ottawa has risen significantly since late 2016. The increase has strained our emergency shelter system requiring us to use more hotels and motels to fill the gap.

    1. What can we do to minimize the use of hotel/motels when demand for emergency shelter placements remains high?
  • What services are offered to help you find and maintain housing?

    23 days ago

    The City’s Housing Services contracts with more than 90 community agencies to help residents get the supports they need to find and keep housing.

    • General housing assistance helps residents find housing and supports to those facing eviction or dealing with other landlord-tenant issues. This includes financial assistance, case management, diversion and education. These services help residents keep their home or find alternative housing.
    • Street outreach identifies people who do not have shelter and connects them with support and housing services.
    • In-reach programs support people who are leaving correctional facilities with no fixed address by helping them find housing and reintegrate...

    The City’s Housing Services contracts with more than 90 community agencies to help residents get the supports they need to find and keep housing.

    • General housing assistance helps residents find housing and supports to those facing eviction or dealing with other landlord-tenant issues. This includes financial assistance, case management, diversion and education. These services help residents keep their home or find alternative housing.
    • Street outreach identifies people who do not have shelter and connects them with support and housing services.
    • In-reach programs support people who are leaving correctional facilities with no fixed address by helping them find housing and reintegrate into the community.
    • Day programs support residents receiving housing services, by providing meals, organizing events and providing connections to other community resources.
    • Housing First Housing-based Case Managers support individuals and families who are no longer experiencing chronic homelessness and have permanent housing. These case managers provide individualized case management and practical supports for cooking, budgeting, maintenance, and landlord and neighbor relations.
    • Housing benefits provide financial support to residents facing eviction and people who need to find housing. These benefits can help with unpaid rent and utilities, last month's rent, utility deposits, moving expenses, essential furniture and direct payment for rent.
    • Supportive housing provides affordable housing and supports services to help people live independently.
    • The Ontario Renovates program provides funding to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities who own their home with repairs and accessibility modifications to support independent living.
    • Housing subsidies provide low-income households with financial support to help lower their rental costs.

    What other support could the City offer to help residents secure or maintain housing?

  • What is affordable?

    23 days ago

    Everyone likely has a different definition of what is affordable when thinking about monthly expenses for things like rent and utilities. In terms of housing, the general rule is that you should spend no more than 30 per cent of your monthly gross income on housing costs.

    In fact, that 30 per cent should include utilities. If you're a homeowner, it should also include other ownership costs, like mortgage interest, property taxes and maintenance.

    Despite Canada’s stable and strong economy, many Ottawa residents still struggle with those monthly costs. 42 per cent of renters spend more than 30...

    Everyone likely has a different definition of what is affordable when thinking about monthly expenses for things like rent and utilities. In terms of housing, the general rule is that you should spend no more than 30 per cent of your monthly gross income on housing costs.

    In fact, that 30 per cent should include utilities. If you're a homeowner, it should also include other ownership costs, like mortgage interest, property taxes and maintenance.

    Despite Canada’s stable and strong economy, many Ottawa residents still struggle with those monthly costs. 42 per cent of renters spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs. And those who live near or below the poverty line often have difficulty finding housing options that are affordable, compared to their income.

    Spending more than 30 per cent of your monthly gross income on housing needs limits your ability to pay for other basic necessities, such as food, clothing and transportation.

    1. What per cent of your income do you spend on housing and related costs?
    2. What does a city with access to adequate, suitable and affordable housing look like to you?
  • How does the City help to make housing affordable?

    23 days ago

    The City uses a variety of programs and subsidies to help make housing more affordable for low-income residents.

    New constructions: Since 2014, the City has built 213 supportive housing units and 271 affordable housing units, increasing the amount of affordable housing for people living on low incomes. The City is building 410 new affordable housing units.

    Rent-geared-to-income assistance: This subsidy reduces the cost of housing so that households pay 30 percent of their pre-tax monthly income for rent. These subsidies help renters living in community housing and rent supplement units secure affordable housing from private and non-profit landlords.

    The City uses a variety of programs and subsidies to help make housing more affordable for low-income residents.

    New constructions: Since 2014, the City has built 213 supportive housing units and 271 affordable housing units, increasing the amount of affordable housing for people living on low incomes. The City is building 410 new affordable housing units.

    Rent-geared-to-income assistance: This subsidy reduces the cost of housing so that households pay 30 percent of their pre-tax monthly income for rent. These subsidies help renters living in community housing and rent supplement units secure affordable housing from private and non-profit landlords.

    • Rent-geared-to-income assistance is provided through the Centralized Waiting List for affordable housing, managed by The Social Housing Registry on behalf of the City.
    • Ottawa has 52 community housing providers, including not-for-profit housing corporations, cooperatives and rent supplement landlords, that provide affordable rental units to more than 18,000 low-income households.

    Housing allowance: This subsidy, paid to the household or the landlord, helps households pay rent. This subsidy provides $250 for a single person and $50 for each additional family member.

    • The City provided more than 800 housing allowances.
    • The housing allowance can be used anywhere in Ottawa.
    • Households can remain on the Centralized Waiting List for affordable housing while receiving the subsidy.

    What can we do to make housing more affordable for Ottawa residents?