The patio at the new Cornerstone apartment complex in Ottawa. Photo: Brian Sarjeant
The exciting countdown has begun for 42 homeless and low-income women who will be moving into their own studio units at the brand new apartment complex on 314 Booth Street, Ottawa.
“It’s wonderful to see the dreams and plans of seven years coming true,” said Sue Garvey, director of Cornerstone, the community ministry of the Anglican diocese of Ottawa that spearheaded the $11.8 million housing project. “It is so good to know that now 42 women will be able to live in a safe, affordable place with people around them to support them in their goals to heal and start a new life.”
The project is “a small but significant step” toward making sure that those women receive the support they need to start over, said Garvey.
“As long as someone doesn’t know where they will be sleeping or where their next meal will come, they can’t begin their lives,” she said. “They can’t go to school or find work, because they are living in crisis.”
The four-storey complex is also “proof that when a community of people decide to do something great, it can be done,” said Garvey. Faith communities, private donors and government help fund the project, which was unveiled on May 25.
The women will move into their own units on June 20. Twenty of them will be seniors who have lived in rough living conditions for years; the rest are younger women at risk of homelessness.
Garvey said they have some of the following characteristics: suffered a history of abuse and trauma, poor physical and mental health, suffered addictions/fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, acquired brain injuries due to childhood and ongoing violence, developmental disabilities, and chronically homeless (have spent more than 60 days in a shelter in the last year).
But they are also “full of hope and perseverance” and are “hard workers” who want to make a new life for themselves and their families, she said.