I have been seeing lots of discussion across social media recently regarding homelessness in Stittsville and across Ottawa.
I wanted to take a moment to encourage residents to treat our most vulnerable populations with the utmost respect. There are any number of unfortunate circumstances that can lead an individual or family into a situation of homelessness.
As Chair of both Crime Prevention Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health, I am actively engaged in the challenges faced by Ottawa’s homeless population and the conversations of what we, as elected officials, can do to support them and promote mental health initiatives including the City’s 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan approved by Council in 2013. In June, I was pleased to present a free screening at Sacred Heart High School of “Project Cold Days”, a local documentary about homelessness in our nation’s capital.
Please remember that those who struggle to find somewhere safe and dry to sleep for the night or those who may ask for donations to help them get by only do so out of necessity. Please consider acting as a Good Samaritan and helping those in need when you have the capability to do so or by donating to local charities and food banks.
Residents who are concerned about someone who may be experiencing homelessness are encouraged to call the City at 3-1-1. An agent will assess the resident’s request, liaise directly with the Salvation Army’s Street Outreach Services (SASOS) and transfer the call, as appropriate. Salvation Army staff will reach out to the person(s) to assess their needs and provide the necessary services at the point of contact. They can also transport the person to the appropriate services in the community, as required.
In any situation where you experience violent harassment or aggressive behavior that may pose an immediate threat to your safety and well-being, please call 9-1-1.
For additional information about the SASOS, please visit the agency’s web site at the following link. You may also contact the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre for other health and social services in your area or consult the Community Information Centre of Ottawa which connects people with a wide range of services and resources.