Subsidized housing

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Facts at a glance

  • The City’s Housing Services Branch administers and funds social housing in Ottawa.
  • There are approximately 22,500 social housing units.
  • Rental rates for those in receipt of Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) assistance within social housing are typically set according to the renter’s income, with households paying no more than 30 per cent of their income towards rent.
  • There are 51 independent non-profit housing organizations that operate social housing across the city.
  • The demand for social housing is much greater than the supply.
  • There are approximately 10,000 households on the Centralized Wait List for social housing.
  • Wait times for social housing in Ottawa can be up to five (5) years or more.

Supportive Housing Program

Supportive housing is a community-based, person-centred model of providing affordable, transitional and permanent accommodation. Housing support staff help tenants and encourage the development of healthy communities.

For information on how to apply for Supportive Housing, refer to The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa.

Keeping your home / Finding affordable housing

If you need help or information to maintain your current housing or find new housing, contact the agency in your area:

Action Housing
150 Montreal Rd, Suite 305

Also provides housing search and Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal assistance.
Area served:  everything East of the Rideau Canal

Housing Help
309 Cooper Street, Suite 502

Also provides housing search and Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal assistance.
Area served:  everything West of the Rideau Canal

Ottawa Rent-Geared-To-Income Guide

The Ottawa Rent-Geared-To-Income Guide is a handbook for housing providers on how to manage rent-geared-to-income assistance.  This information is required under section 54 of the Housing Services Act, 2011.

Within the Guide you will find the following information:

  • Page 17: City of Ottawa procedures for application
  • Page 135: City of Ottawa local eligibility rules – Note that Directive 10-02 has been replaced with Service Manager Directive 17-02. Service Manager Directive 17-02 was replaced with 20-02. Service Manager 20-02 was replaced with 21-01 (Local Rent Geared to Income Eligibility Rules [ PDF - 427 KB ]
  • Page 139: City of Ottawa occupancy standards – Note that Directive 10-01 has been replaced with Service Manager Directive 17-01.  Service Manager Directive 17-01 was replaced with 20-01 (Local Occupancy Standards and Local Priority Rules)  [ PDF - 448 KB ]
  • Pages 26 – 31: City of Ottawa system for selecting households including:
    • rules for determining whether a unit that becomes vacant should be occupied by a household that will be receiving Rent Geared to Income assistance
    • priority rules for households waiting for Rent Geared to Income assistance
    • rules governing the selection by a housing provider of households to occupy units or receive Rent Geared to Income
  • Pages 40 – 46: Rules for initial and ongoing eligibility for RGI assistance
  • Page 28: Provincial and Local Priorities to access RGI housing


Housing resources

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – the Government of Canada's authority on housing.
  • Canadian Housing and Renewal Association – a national non-profit organization representing those who manage and deliver housing programs in communities across Canada.
  • Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation – established to ensure that human rights protections in housing would be effective for low income households and to address systemic barriers to accessing affordable accommodation.
  • Clinique juridique francophone – offers legal assistance to francophone tenants (available in French only).
  • Community Care Access Centre – a provincially-funded, charitable, non-profit organization providing home health care & support services, placement in long-term care facilities, and one-stop access to information and referral to related community resources.
  • Community Legal Services of Ottawa – provides free legal help to people of low income.
  • Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) – the national voice of Canada's co-operative housing movement.
  • Council on Aging – established in 1975 in response to a need for a coordinating body to deal with the concerns of senior citizens, particularly in the health and education fields.
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities – the national voice of municipal governments, dedicated to improving the quality of life in all communities by promoting strong, effective and accountable municipal government.
  • Homes for the Aged – Since 1969, the Region has been providing institutional long-term care. The Homes for the Aged staff members are committed to providing quality care and services to persons who can no longer live independently.
  • Landlords Self-Help Centre – a specialty clinic within the province-wide community legal clinic system funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Landlord's Self-Help Centre provides services exclusively to small scale landlords in Ontario.
  • Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors – voluntary province wide organization which, for 78 years, has represented non-profit providers of services, care and housing for seniors.
  • Ministry of Housing - leads the government of Ontario’s efforts to ensure everyone in Ontario has an affordable, suitable and adequate home.
  • Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is the official voice of non-profit housing in Ontario
  • Landlord and Tenant Board – established to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants and provide information about the Tenant Protection Act.
  • Social Planning Council of Ottawa – the SPC applies research and long-term planning to pressing social problems. Working with community groups and concerned citizens, we gather information and develop alternative solutions. To get the word out to decision-makers, the media, and the public, we communicate via publications, fact sheets, town hall meetings, and the Internet.