OTTAWA – Women at a time of crisis in their lives now have more affordable housing in the nation’s capital after the opening this fall of a new facility by Cornerstone Housing for Women, a mission of the Diocese of Ottawa.
The building formerly belonged to the Sisters of Jeanne D’Arc Institute, a Roman Catholic religious community. It was purchased by Cornerstone with the intention of repurposing it for affordable housing, a project that was launched in March 2017. The $8-million project was supported by all three levels of government, and Cornerstone itself raised $2 million over a two-year capital campaign. It opened in November 2018.
“Our dream has become a reality thanks to the incredible groundswell of support by the caring, compassionate and hard-working people of faith within the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and the greater Ottawa community,” said Jessie-Lee Wallace, resource development officer for Cornerstone. Almost 30 parishes in the diocese contributed to the project, financially, through food donations, volunteer work and in other ways, she said.
The newly refurbished building contains 42 small bachelor apartments, and is intended to provide a secure home for women hoping to recover from abuse or job loss, or get support for mental health and addiction problems, or move past a time of crisis in their lives. One-tenth of the units are reserved for Indigenous women, and an Indigenous elder will serve on the building’s staff. More than 1,000 women become homeless in the nation’s capital each year, Ms. Wallace said.