Financial and social assistance

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Help paying your hydro bill

Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)

If you receive money from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program or are in a lower-income home, you can save $35 to $75 on your electricity bill every month. If you pay an electricity bill directly, you can receive a monthly credit on your bill. The amount of the credit will depend on how many people live in your house and your combined household income.

You can apply for the OESP online. To learn more:

Catherine Street Community Service Hub

The Catherine Street Community Service Hub, located at 370 Catherine Street, is a safe resting space where residents can access City and community social supports in one location. The hub offers services by a team of Community and Social Services and community partner agency staff.  The hub is open from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.


  • Somerset West Community Health Centre community support staff
  • Financial and social assistance:
    • Ontario Works
    • Ontario Disability Support Program
    • Essential Health and Social Supports Program
    • Child care fee subsidy application support
  • Housing support and referrals
  • Employment services (Employment Ontario)
  • Community and health services referrals

Residents can access:

  • Walk-in and scheduled appointments for services
  • Safe resting space and seating
  • Washrooms
  • Charging stations
  • Public computers
  • Wi-Fi
  • Telephones

Contact us
613-580-2400 ext. 26468

Home Support Services

Home Support Services provide help with light housekeeping to eligible low-income residents who have a medical need and who have little or no supports in the community. Light housekeeping may include:  floors, bathrooms, laundry, kitchen and light dusting.

Who can get Home Support Services?

  • Your income must be below the “low income cut-off” or you are in receipt of social assistance
  • You have a documented medical reason that prevents you from doing homemaking tasks on your own
  • You have little or no support to help you with housekeeping tasks. For example, you live alone and have no family close by

Apply for Home Support Services

Call 3-1-1 between 8:45 am and 4 pm

  • Select 1 for service in English or 2 for service in French
  • Select 4 for Social Services
  • TTY Line 1-800-855-0511

Eligibility will be assessed during a telephone interview followed with a home visit by a case worker.  

For more information, e-mail

Residential Services Homes

What are Residential Services Homes?

Residential Services Homes, also known as domiciliary hostels, are private or non-profit residences that provide long-term housing to vulnerable adults who require some supervision and services to maintain their independent living. Residents are typically living with a psychiatric, developmental or physical illness and/or disability. These homes offer a residential living environment that is safe and supportive for all residents.

Services include:

  • Furnished rooms (most are shared accommodation)
  • 24 hour urgent response
  • Medication management
  • Meals and snacks
  • Housekeeping and personal laundry
  • Social and/or recreational activities
  • Access to both on-site and other community-based services

The Residential Service Homes Standards [ 908 KB ] outline the City's expectations for service delivery and ensure that funded services are delivered in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Subsidy program for Residential Services Homes

The City of Ottawa provides financial assistance to residents on low income to help with the cost of their board and lodging in a residence. Eligibility is based on an admission and financial assessment.

Admission assessment

To be eligible for a subsidy, a person must:

  • Be 18 years of age, or older
  • Be a person living with psychiatric, developmental, physical illness and/or disability or frailty
  • Voluntarily agree to accept placement
  • Have an immigration status in Canada other than visitor, student, temporary work visa or sponsored immigrant
  • Be able to live in a group setting and display safe, respectful, and non-violent behaviour
  • Be able to bathe, dress, take care of one’s toileting or qualify for community care services to manage these needs independently
  • Be able to walk and change position or use an assistive device to move and change position independently
  • Manage community outings and transportation arrangements independently (unless services are offered as a part of a rural location)
  • Be compliant with prescribed medication/treatment plan and/or be medically stable as determined by a health professional
  • Be compliant with court ordered plan and/or community treatment order, if applicable
  • Manage alcohol and/or substance use choices responsibly and if applicable, be compliant with a prescribed addiction treatment program
  • Be able to manage finances independently or agree to have finances managed by a Power of Attorney for Finance, Public Guardian and Trustee, or consent to have money managed by the Operator
  • Have limited financial resources and meet the allowable asset level

Financial assessment

To qualify for a subsidy, a person must have limited financial resources. Persons who are currently eligible for Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are deemed financially eligible for financial assistance. Generally, a person may not qualify for a subsidy if their asset level is greater than $5,000 or if their current net monthly income exceeds $1861.70 (subject to change). Couples are treated as separate applicants regardless of their choice of living situation.

Apply for a subsidy in Residential Services Homes

To apply for a Residential Services Home subsidy, a person must complete an application form. The application form is divided into two parts and is supported by an instruction guide.

Here are the steps you need to follow to complete your application:

  1. Read the Instruction Guide before completing the application form. The guide provides detailed step by step instructions on how to fill out the application and what to do with the application once it is complete.
  2. Complete Part 1 – Applicant Information (To change language preference, modify your computer settings).
  3. Ask a health care professional such as a doctor, nurse or social worker to complete Part 2 – Health Information (To change language preference, modify your computer settings).
  4. Submit both parts of the application form to Community Supports. Refer to page 9 of the instruction guide for contact information.

Once the City receives your application and if you appear to qualify for a subsidy, you will meet with a Residential Services Homes Worker who will verify your income, assets and health information. If you do not qualify for a subsidy, we will contact you and give you the reasons why.

Employment and Social Service Centres


370 Catherine Street, 1st floor (near Bay Street)
613-580-2424 ext. 26402
8 am to 4:30 pm


2339 Ogilvie Road, 1st floor (Beacon Hill Shopping Centre)
613-580-2424 ext. 12240
8 am to 4:30 pm


100 Constellation Drive, 2nd Floor (near Baseline and Woodroffe)
613-580-2424 ext. 27480
8 am to 4:30 pm


2020 Walkley Road (near Conroy Road)
613-580-2424 ext. 15041
8 am to 4:30 pm

Human Needs Task Force

A Human Needs Task Force was implemented as part of the City’s Emergency Management Plan and emergency response to COVID-19 to ensure that we are responsive to the emerging needs of the community.

The task force is focused on responding to immediate, medium and long-term community needs on:

  • Financial and food security
  • Homelessness and sheltering

Please ask anyone facing difficulty to call 3-1-1. The City of Ottawa has many supports in place for residents in need.

Contact us
613-580-2424 ext. 26753

Sign up for our eNewsletter

Would you like to receive news about our programs and services through your email? If so, sign up for our Employment and Social Services e-newsletter. Each month, you will get an email with information on things like:

  • Finding a job
  • Workshops
  • Job fairs
  • Programs and services
  • And more

All we need is your name (optional) and an email address. Sign up! If you no longer want to receive the newsletter, you can unsubscribe at any time.