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Our 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan 2020-2030

The 10-year plan is a roadmap. It provides the foundational actions the City will take to improve the system of housing and support services for people in need in our community. This plan was developed in partnership with the community.  

The plan

Learn about our 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan 2020–2030 [ 1.47 MB ]

10 year housing plan

Addressing homelessness

People experiencing homelessness in Ottawa

Most people in Ottawa who are experiencing homelessness are men, women, youth and children who have lost their homes because they have either suffered abuse, lost their jobs, faced unmanageable living expenses or have mental health and/or addiction issues. Others are newcomers to the city who cannot find affordable housing. In 2015, there were 6,825 individuals who accessed an emergency shelter.

One of the key components of the City's 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan is the implementation of the Housing First service model. Housing First prioritizes people experiencing homelessness for housing and supports based on how deep their needs are for support services and the length of time they have been homeless. Housing First uses a common assessment tool amongst referring agencies. People with the highest needs are able to access housing and supports more quickly. Providing a person who is homeless with housing and the necessary supports to stay housed leads to a better quality of life and is far less costly than staying at an emergency shelter.

Learn more about the City's Housing First Program [ 980 KB ].

The City's 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan aims to achieve the following outcomes by 2024:

  • No one is unsheltered
  • Chronic homelessness is eliminated
  • Emergency shelter stays are less than 30 days
  • Emergency shelters provide an adequate level of service

Housing services for people experiencing homelessness

The City of Ottawa's Housing Services branch ("Housing Services") funds community agencies that, in turn, help people who experience homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless. This collaborative effort has developed into a system of services that ranges from preventing homelessness to helping people find permanent housing.

  • Emergency shelters – The City subsidizes approximately 950 permanent shelter spaces in two City-operated family shelters, eight community shelter providers and overflow facilities as needed. Shelter operators provide a variety of services including meals, a place to sleep, and case management, including practical assistance. They also ensure that all clients are assessed and referred to the social and health services they need. Each shelter has a housing support worker to help clients find long-term housing and settle into the community.
  • Support services – There are two types of support services:
    • Supported Housing: Using a case management approach, support workers assist clients with activities provided in their own homes through scheduled visits, such as life skills to support independent living. Individuals live in scattered units across the city including units that are block-leased by the service provider.
    • Housing-Based Case Management: Housing-Based Case Managers assist people who are unsheltered and/or in emergency shelters to find appropriate housing, learn relevant life skills, and promote an improved quality of life by facilitating timely access to community supports, thereby enhancing housing stability and supporting long-term housing retention. Hours of service provision are flexible to meet the needs of the clients including some evening and weekend availability and/or access to additional crisis supports, such as a 24/7 crisis line. Housing Services funds 10 agencies to provide this service to adults and youth with a total of 34 Housing-Based Case Managers.
  • Outreach – The City also funds a number of homelessness outreach teams whose functions include:
    • Helping people who are on the street to access emergency shelters and to obtain housing
    • Supporting people experiencing homelessness by preventing or reducing potential harm and connecting them to health and social services

Finding an emergency shelter

Emergency shelters offer meals, a place to sleep, and case management, including practical assistance. They also make sure that all clients are assessed and referred to the social and health services they need. Each shelter has a housing support worker to help clients find housing in the community. There are eight shelter agencies in Ottawa that provide these services to different population groups such as men, women, families, and youth.

If you or someone you know needs shelter, please call the City and make a request for placement. A placement officer will refer you to the best available shelter.

  • Call 3-1-1
  • Toll-Free: 1-866-261-9799
  • TTY: 613-580-2401

Homelessness resources



  • HomelessHub.ca: The Homeless Hub encourages discussions about the future of homelessness research, policy and services in Canada. ·
  • Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness: Leads a national movement of individuals, organizations, and communities working together to end homelessness in Canada
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Working Group on Homelessness: Members report on-going and recently completed research related to homelessness
  • Canadian Mental Health Association: The mission of the CMHA is to advocate with and provide programs and services for people with mental disorders, and to enhance, maintain and promote the mental health of all individuals and communities in Ontario
  • Employment and Social Development Canada: This site provides information on the federal government’s strategy to help provinces and territories to reduce homelessness and on the national database initiative: The Homelessness Individual and Families Information System (HIFIS)
  • Raising the Roof: A national charity dedicated to finding long-term solutions to the growing problem of homelessness in Canada


For more information about housing-related services for people experiencing homelessness in Ottawa, call Housing Services at 3-1-1 or email housing-logement@ottawa.ca.

Ottawa Emergency Shelter Standards (OESS) and Ottawa Transitional Housing Program Standards (OTHPS)

The City of Ottawa is committed to delivering high quality services that improve the lives of families and individuals experiencing homelessness. In 2018, the City of Ottawa undertook a process to update the 2005 Ottawa Emergency Shelter Standards [ 840 KB ] and Ottawa Transitional Housing Program Standards [ 624 KB ]. The process included consultations with internal and external stakeholders, including people with lived experience and/or housing precariousness. The standards are used to complete annual reviews, annual program reviews and 30-month compliance reviews with City of Ottawa funded emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.

Read the 2021 Ottawa Emergency Shelter Standards and 2021 Ottawa Transitional Housing Program Standards Report [ 186 KB ].

Getting involved

You can make a difference to address homelessness in Ottawa. Get involved by:

  • Donating to the Community Foundation Homelessness Fund
  • Volunteering at the Volunteer Centre of Ottawa
  • Donating to the United Way
  • Raising the Roof – a national charity dedicated to finding long-term solutions to the growing problem of homelessness in Canada
  • Share the Warmth – a registered, not-for-profit charity that purchases heat and energy on behalf of families, seniors, chronically ill and persons with disabilities living at or near the poverty level

Working together to prevent and reduce homelessness

Reaching Home is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness across Canada. Each year, the City submits a report to the federal government that highlights the work the community has done so far to achieve its’ goals. The report shows a year-over-year picture of the state and system in place to address homelessness.

Read our Community Homelessness Report [ 457 KB ]. For more information, read our last progress report [ 6.28 MB ].

Community Engagement Team

The Community Engagement Team provides street outreach to connect individuals who are experiencing homelessness or living outside to services and housing supports.

The Community Engagement Team is responsive within the Lowertown, Sandy Hill neighbourhoods and Byward Market area. Street outreach services operate Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. The team:

  • Helps unsheltered individuals find and access social services
  • Listens and acts on the concerns of residents and businesses relating to social services needs
  • Works with City departments and community partners regarding non-urgent medical needs and addiction supports.

Contact us

To access outreach services for yourself or someone in need call 3-1-1.

For more information email CommunityEngagement@ottawa.ca.

Physical distancing centres

Dempsey Community Centre

1895 Russell Road

  • Temporary physical distancing centre - emergency overflow centre for single women 18 years and older, experiencing homelessness.
  • The facility offers food, showers, common sleeping areas, access to computers and Wi-Fi.

Bernard Grandmaître Arena

309 McArthur Road

  • Temporary physical distancing centre - emergency overflow centre for single men 18 years and older, experiencing homelessness.
  • The facility offers food, showers, common sleeping areas, access to computers and Wi-Fi.

Heron Road Community Centre

1480 Heron Road

  • Temporary physical distancing – emergency overflow centre for single individuals 19 years and older, experiencing homelessness.
  • The facility offers food, showers, common sleeping areas, access to computers and Wi-Fi.

Shelters for individuals and families remain open and are accepting clients.  If you are 18 years or older, experiencing homelessness and need help, call us.

Call 3-1-1, then 4 for Social Services to complete a homelessness assessment. 

Point-in-Time Count

A Point-in-Time (PiT) Count is a one-day snapshot of homelessness in the community.

City staff and community partners work together to survey people experiencing homelessness in Ottawa. So far, the City has led two counts:

  • April 2018
  • October 2021

The data collected helps us better understand the scope of homelessness in our community and the needs of those experiencing homelessness. The goal of this work is to guide new approaches to address homelessness at a local level and help in the planning and delivery of services.


Convenience sampling was used to recruit survey respondents. This method of recruiting respondents to answer the survey does not rely on a random selection process. Instead, surveyors approach potential respondents if they are close by at the time the surveyor is delivering the questionnaire. Many factors could determine participation in the survey including:

  • Number of community partners involved in the PiT count
  • Location of surveyors and their physical proximity to potential respondents
  • Number of engagement events
  • Season the survey was conducted

Differences in results between PiT count years may be due to changes within the homeless population and shifts in methodology. For comparisons of emergency shelter use over time, visit the Temporary Emergency Accommodations Dashboard.

An analysis of factors related to housing and homelessness during COVID-19 provides context for unique housing market conditions during the pandemic.


Dashboard:  Survey results for Point-in-Time counts

Results shown in the Survey results: Point-in-Time count dashboard are presented by sector. The name and definition of each sector are below:

  • All: All respondents who answered the survey
  • Single adult: Respondents aged 25 years or older and not accompanied by anyone
  • Single youth: Respondents under 25 years old and not accompanied by anyone
  • Family: Respondents accompanied by children under 18 years old

Keyboard shortcuts in the Power BI Dashboard

Keyboard shortcuts are helpful for moving around in Power BI reports using a keyboard. When accessing a Power BI report, you can press Shift + Question mark (?) to show keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts
Commands Shortcuts
Show keyboard shortcuts Shift + Question mark (?)
Across the product
Commands Shortcuts
Move focus between sections Ctrl + F6
Move focus forward in section Tab
Move focus backward in section Shift + Tab
Pane navigation
Commands Shortcuts
Multi-select Ctrl + Space
Collapse a single table Left arrow
Expand a single table Right arrow
Collapse all tables Alt + Shift +1
Expand all tables Alt + Shift + 9
Open a context menu Windows context key or Shift + F10
On visual
Commands Shortcuts
Move focus to visual menu Alt + Shift + F10
Show as table Alt + Shift + F11
Enter a visual Ctrl + Right arrow
Enter a layer Enter
Exit a layer or visual Esc
Select or unselect data point Enter or Space
Multi-select Ctrl + Enter or Ctrl + Space
Right Click Windows context key or Shift + F10
Show or hide data point tooltip Ctrl + H
Clear selection Ctrl + Shift + C
Slicer accessibility
Commands Shortcuts
Slicer control Ctrl + Right arrow

To download the data, visit Open Ottawa. 

To enter the Power BI report from the Survey results: Point-in-Time count dashboard by using a keyboard, press Tab once after the 'full screen view' link and then press Ctrl + Enter. A small box will appear in the top left corner of the report. Press Tab three times to navigate through the options and you will then be inside the report. 

Having trouble viewing the Dashboard? Try viewing the Survey results: Point-in-Time count dashboard in full-screen mode.

Tenant rights

Property standards

Tenants who live in housing in need of repair should first work with their landlord or property management company. Comments to the landlord or property manager should be put in writing and the tenant should keep a copy.

After a reasonable amount of time, if the repairs have not been carried out, tenants should contact Property Standards at the City of Ottawa. The City inspects buildings and properties when there is a complaint concerning the interior or exterior condition and the safety of residents.

Property standards inspections ensure and enforce compliance with City by-laws regulating property maintenance and occupancy standards. Property Standards may be contacted by calling 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

Tenant supports

If you live in Ottawa and are searching for rental housing, have a conflict with your landlord or are at risk of eviction, there are several organizations that can provide support and guidance.

  • Housing Help
    • A one-stop, drop-in service for all Ottawa residents who have housing problems or questions
    • 309 Cooper Street, Suite 502
      Ottawa, ON, K2P 0G5
      Tel: 613-563-4532
      Fax: 613-563-8019

  • Action-Logement
    • A charitable organization devoted to assisting low-income individuals and families to find and maintain safe, affordable and adequate rental housing
    • 261 Montreal Road
      Ottawa, ON, K1L 8C7
      Tel: 613-562-8219
      Fax: 613-241-1526

  • Community Legal Services of Ottawa
    • Provides free legal help to people of low income
    • Community Legal Services of Ottawa – Downtown
      1 Nicholas Street, Suite 422
      Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7
      Tel: 613-241-7008
      Fax: 613-241-8680

    • Community Legal Services of Ottawa - South
      1355 Bank Street Suite 406
      Ottawa, ON K1H 8K7
      Tel. 613-733-0140
      Fax 613-733-0401

    • Community Legal Services of Ottawa - West
      1299 Richmond Road
      Ottawa, ON K2B 7Y4
      Tel. 613-596-1641
      Fax 613-596-3364

  • Clinique juridique francophone d’Ottawa
    • Offers legal assistance to francophone tenants
    • Vanier Community Service Centre
      290 Dupuis Street
      Ottawa, ON, K1L 1A2
      Tel: 613-744-2892

Landlord and Tenant Board

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) sets the rules for most residential rental housing in Ontario. The Landlord and Tenant Board provides information about the RTA and resolves disputes between residential landlords and tenants. The former Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal is now known as the Landlord and Tenant Board.

For more information about the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, please visit the Landlord and Tenant Board website.

Discrimination and human rights

  • Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
    • ​CERA is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to preventing evictions and ending housing discrimination across Ontario
    • Please note that CERA is not a legal clinic and are not able to meet with clients in person. Please contact CERA by phone or email to discuss your situation.
    • 215 Spadina Avenue, Unit 164
      Toronto, ON, M5T 2C7
      Tel: 416-944-0087
      Toll-Free: 1-800-263-1139, ext. 1
      Email: cera@equalityrights.org