The Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre Provides Hope to the Most Vulnerable
As rising costs pose a challenge for many Canadians, supporting the vulnerable population in Ottawa is crucial. Through transformational programs, services, and opportunities, The Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre is changing lives for the better.
The Salvation Army Booth Centre encompasses Community and Family Services (CFS), a men’s emergency shelter, street outreach services, and a residential life skills program – all vital services designed to provide hope and long-term positive outcomes for those The Salvation Army serves.
Last year, The Salvation Army was a beacon of light for 87,000 people in Ottawa.
Functioning partly as a men’s emergency shelter, the Booth Centre provides 168 beds, plus an additional 30 beds, as part of their special care unit, in partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health Inc., for those with complex health needs. The Salvation Army’s housing-based case managers work one-on-one with people experiencing homelessness to connect with them on an individualized level to better understand their unique needs and circumstances.
“Our caseworkers are critical to the success of finding permanent housing for those we serve. We help them attain ID for employment right from the start. We then begin the process of understanding their individual needs and journey alongside them during this time of their lives,” says Executive Director, Marc Provost. “We cover the entire spectrum of homelessness. We also provide hope to those living rough through our Street Outreach Services team 365 days a year.”
In 2022, 9,524 people were assisted through The Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre’s Street Outreach program.
The Salvation Army’s Community and Family Services is more than a food bank, but rather a lifeline of practical supports for those finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Diana Javier, Manager of Community and Family Services, says: “While there are a lot of services in Ottawa for individuals and families to access, sometimes they are not always accessible to everyone who needs them. So, we are the last hope for many who struggling. From food affordability, advocacy, or referral to another community partner agency, we are here to help. There’s also a practical support element as well – providing clothing assistance, emergency household supplies, and assisting those who are transitioning from homelessness to independent living.”
“Our main focus is assisting individuals and families out of their immediate crisis and then working with them to find solutions,” says Diana.
After getting evicted from his apartment, Geo suddenly found himself homeless and sought assistance at The Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre’s emergency shelter. Living in Ottawa for most of his life, he never thought he would face this challenge.
After help from compassionate caseworkers, Geo was a resident at the Booth Centre for seven weeks.
Geo was terrified at first. “The first day, I was scared to death. I have never been in a place like this, and I never expected to be. I was 63 years old, and I had hit rock bottom.”
With emotional and practical support from staff, he gradually found comfort and hope at the emergency shelter. Within two months, caseworkers assisted Geo in securing a place to live in Orleans.
“I love the staff here. I see how hard they work,” Geo says. “[If I could do anything], I would give them a big heartfelt hug and say thank you so much for the help.”
Geo’s narrative is unfortunately familiar across Ottawa, yet, thanks to the compassionate and caring team at The Salvation Army Booth Centre, positive transformations are occurring in people’s lives.
Last year, over 900 men like Geo walked into The Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre needing a place to stay.
The Salvation Army’s life-changing programs involve the generous support from their Army of Givers, and during this year’s iconic Christmas Kettle Campaign, which is currently underway – your time is now to help your neighbours in need.
Every dollar put into a kettle ensures The Salvation Army can deliver transformational programs that provide dignity and a way out of poverty permanently for many who are finding it difficult to put food on their tables.
When you see The Salvation Army’s red kettles and bell ringers this holiday season, remember Geo’s story and be a transforming influence in your community.
Please donate at one of the over 30 kettle locations around Ottawa this Christmas, which are equipped with touchless giving. You can also donate online at SalvationArmy.ca or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Header image: Scott Streble