Ottawa women's shelter looking for temporary new home by end of the month


The city of Ottawa says all parties are working "tirelessly" to find a new temporary location for an emergency shelter for women, after the lease for its current location at the University of Ottawa was cut short by a month.

Cornerstone Housing for Women says it has three weeks to find an interim site for its emergency shelter, or more than 100 vulnerable residents will lose their shelter.

The shelter opened its site at the University of Ottawa in December 2020 after the city asked the organization to expand its capacity to accommodate a surge in demand for women and gender-diverse individuals experiencing homelessness for the winter. The city arranged for space at the university to ensure there was enough space for physical distancing to be maintained.

The permanent home for the emergency shelter is located on O'Connor Street.

The city of Ottawa's lease for the Cornerstone Housing for Women to use the University of Ottawa facility on Friel Street was originally scheduled to expire on July 31, 2021. The city tells CTV News Ottawa the university exercised a clause in the lease to terminate it one month earlier on June 30.

On Thursday, Cornerstone Housing for Women said its unable to return to its permanent home on O'Connor Street until December, as much-needed renovations on the facility will not be completed for another six months.

Cornerstone Housing for Women, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and the city have been working to find a solution.

On Twitter, Mayor Jim Watson said city staff are working to find a new facility, which will be presented to the Cornerstone Housing for Women's board before the end of the month.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Christopher Tuck of Ottawa's Human Needs Task Force said the city is working with its partners to find temporary and permanent solutions for single women and gender-diverse individuals experiencing homelessness.

"This location is currently housing 125 women and gender-diverse individuals," said Tuck.

"The City of Ottawa’s Housing Service and Human Needs Task Force, in collaboration with Cornerstone Housing for Women and our community partners, are working tirelessly to find a new temporary location with the least amount of disruption to those using the centre as well as the staff, who all deserve support and stability."