Ottawa turns to temporary shelters as city searches for permanent housing solutions

Ottawa is turning to its pandemic-era temporary shelters to house vulnerable people while the city comes up with a long-term plan to find permanent homes.

At the beginning of the pandemic the city created "physical distancing centres" at a number of community centres to help limit overcrowding in Ottawa's homeless shelters.

The city's general manager of community and social services told council on Wednesday that 200 people have been transitioned from those centres into permanent housing.

But some councillors say they worry about losing community centre programming, and how that might harm other vulnerable populations such as youths.

Coun. Marty Carr says council needs to invest in more supportive housing so the city does not need to rely on community centres to carry the burden of homelessness.

The goal is to transition out of using the physical distancing centres by August.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2023.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press