What it is:
- an award-winning day program (not a shelter)
- run by professional staff
Who it serves:
- men, women, youths, and families
- all faiths, cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations
- people who are precariously housed or homeless
What it provides:
- a safe and welcoming place to belong
- coffee, newspapers, TV
- social recreation (games, music, art, annual picnic, Christmas dinner)
- practical services (laundry, showers, phone)
- support services (housing help, ODSP support, counselling)
How it’s funded:
- 70% government (mostly municipal)
- one of eight day programs funded by the City of Ottawa
- 12% Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
- one of five community ministries of the diocese
- 15% private donations
Where it is:
- 454 King Edward Avenue
- ground-level entrance to the basement of St. Albans Church
What is Centre 454?
What programs does Centre 454 offer?
What does "housing first" mean?
Where is Centre 454 located?
What are the operating hours of Centre 454?
How is Centre 454 funded?
Who operates/manages Centre 454 and its programs?
Do Centre 454 participants have to be Anglicans?
How many people use Centre 454?
How long has Centre 454 been running?
What kind of neighbour is Centre 454?
How do I contact Centre 454?
How can I help?
Centre 454 is an award-winning day program serving men, women, youth, and families who are living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, or precariously housed in Ottawa. It is one of five community ministries of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, and one of eight day programs of the City of Ottawa.
Our programs include
- social supports such as hospitality, daily activities, group activities, and special events
- practical supports including laundry and shower facilities, telephone and mailbox services, and essential clothing
- counselling support to individuals and groups
- help in navigating the application process for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
- spiritual support including weekly prayer services, special services, and annual memorial services
"Housing first is a key phrase from the City of Ottawa's 10-year plan to address housing and homelessness.
Centre 454 is at 454 King Edward Avenue. Its front door is a garden-level entrance to the basement of St. Albans church.
Generally, Centre 454 is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., except for Wednesdays when we are open from 8:00 to 11:30 am. Seasonal and holiday schedules can affect these hours. See our hours of operation page.
Centre 454 is funded by government, primarily municipal (70%); private donations (15%); and the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (12%).
Centre 454 is a community ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. An appointed management board offers direction to the Centre. Centre 454 operations are managed and facilitated by an executive director and management team located on site. Professional staff run the Centre’s programs and services, assisted by volunteers.
No. Centre 454 serves individuals of all cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, faiths, and gender and sexual orientations who are in need.
Centre 454 serves approximately 170 individuals over the course of each day. Typically, individuals visit for short periods, dropping by the Centre for a cup of coffee or for a specific service or program; but some participants stay for the day to enjoy the community Centre 454 offers.
In 1954, the Centre was initiated by the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa to provide support to Anglican men who were preparing to re-enter society from jail. As services expanded and changed, the Centre moved into 454 King Edward Avenue in 1976 and took its new name from the address. It kept the name when it moved to Murray Street in 2000 and then back again to the renovated space at 454 King Edward Avenue in 2012. More information.
Centre 454 promotes mutual respect and cooperation. We are an active member of the Sandy Hill community. Our participants engage in community volunteering and activities; twice annually we have a crew working in Sandy Hill on Cleaning the Capital weekend. We welcome everyone who wishes to tour our facilities and learn about what we do.
People wishing to become involved or to help at the Centre should contact us by any of the methods mentioned above, and see the Get Involved section of our website.
Poverty and homelessness are a concern in Ottawa. Many of the participants in Centre 454’s programs live in poverty, and many of them are without a permanent home. While many who visit the Centre are single or unattached, the numbers of single parents, youth, and seniors who require our services are increasing.
Poverty in Ottawa1
The Low Income Measure (LIM) identifies households of various sizes with an after-tax income lower than 50% of the median income for all households, irrespective of the city size.
In 2010, 11.7% of the population in Ottawa lived in poverty (101,235)
High rates of poverty were evident among particular groups:
- 18.6% of Aboriginal residents
- 17.1% of immigrants
- 34.7% of recent immigrants
- 21.1% of visible minority residents
- 16.0% of people with disabilities
- 13.1% of francophones
1. Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey
Who Is Poor?
Unattached individuals or people not living in families are a very significant portion of Ottawa’s poor, representing one-third of all low-income people in Ottawa. Of unattached individuals, 21.1% lived on low income in Ottawa (34,020 individuals) compared to 11.7% for all individuals.
Youth 18–24 have a very high rate of poverty (19.2%), as well as children less than 6 years (15.2%).
Seniors 65 years and over living alone are at high risk of poverty. For seniors living alone, the poverty rate was 19.4% compared to 7% for all seniors. Most of seniors living alone who are poor are women (74.8%).
The numbers of working poor who work full time but live in poverty are 19,840 (5.2%).
Homelessness in Ottawa2
The number of individuals and family members using emergency shelters in Ottawa in 2014 totalled 6,520, including 3,058 single men, 914 single women, 378 youth, and 705 families. There was a small decrease observed in the number of families and individuals using the shelter system in 2014, compared to 2013.
In 2014 emergency shelters provided 504,873 bed nights to persons without another place to stay. The average stay was 77 nights, 4 days longer than the year before.
In 2014, 141 new affordable housing units were made available. However, there are still 10,224 households (individuals and families) waiting for affordable housing in the city.
Average rent for a bachelor apartment in Ottawa in 2014 was $780. This represents 119% of the monthly supplement provided by Ontario Works or 71% of Disability Assistance for a single person.
2. Alliance to End Homelessness 2014 Progress Report on Ending Homelessness in Ottawa
Precariously Housed in Ottawa
Many of our participants are living in housing that is not stable—meaning that individuals cannot be sure if they will have housing, from month to month. There are many reasons for this, including but not limited to inadequate finances, unhealthy environment, jeopardized safety and security.
The mandate of Centre 454 is to assist individuals who are precariously housed or homeless in Ottawa, through supportive counselling, social recreational activities, practical supports (such as mail and message service, phones, laundry, and showers), and by providing a place during the day where people can gather in safety and security. Centre 454 is one of five community ministries of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, and one of eight City of Ottawa day programs.
Centre 454 began as an outreach of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa in 1954 and was named Centre 454 in 1976 when it moved to St. Albans Church at 454 King Edward Avenue. For 24 years, Centre 454 was an effective and respected part of the northwest Sandy Hill community. In the late 1990s the parish of St. Albans asked Centre 454 to move to other premises, and in 2000 it moved to 216 Murray Street.
From 2001 to 2012, Centre 454 was located at 216 Murray Street, at the north end of the Byward Market area of the downtown core. The location on Murray Street assured that the Centre would remain accessible to its participants, but over time the location never provided the kind of sanctuary that is needed to help people in transition from the street to a more stable lifestyle.
In the fall of 2012, Centre 454 returned to its former location in the basement of St. Albans Church at 454 King Edward Avenue.
St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church
St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church was established in the 1860s as an Anglican parish with a special focus on service to people who were poor and/or homeless in Ottawa. It was built on the edge of Lowertown at a time when that area was home to most of the workers and transients who flowed through Ottawa as part of the timber trade. It was built years before Sandy Hill began to prosper.
From 2000 to 2011, the congregation at St. Albans Church was part of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). In 2011, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa reached an agreement with ANiC to reclaim St. Albans Church and appointed a pastor to re-establish a worshipping congregation.
The new St. Albans was launched on Facebook on Easter 2011, held its initial meetings at a community pub, and began worshipping in the church building in July 2011. Since then the congregation has grown rapidly. St. Albans Church has prioritized three important ministries in its neighbourhood: to university students, to young adults, and to members of the community who are precariously housed.
Centre 454 and St. Albans: Partners in the Community
Centre 454 and St. Albans each have their own mandates and governance structures. They share a focus on the needs of people who are living in poverty, precariously housed, or homeless in Ottawa. Each reaches out to that community in its own way, and they work together to define and develop common approaches.
Centre 454 is committed to the values of the Anglican Church of Canada, while it serves participants of every religion and persuasion. Participants in the activities of the Centre are welcome at St. Albans, but there will be no expectation that they participate in any religious activity in the church.
Centre 454 and St. Albans have created a joint committee that advises them both on ways in which they can work together.
Advantages of the Relationship
The integration of Centre 454 into the basement of the building occupied by St. Albans at 454 King Edward Avenue has real advantages for both organizations:
- the church environment provides a place of calm and respect for all who enter
- the presence of the Centre in the building makes tangible the church’s mission to the marginalized
- members of the parish have opportunities to volunteer at the Centre
- both organizations share in the upkeep of the historic St. Albans building and grounds
- the professional staff at Centre 454 provide the members of the parish with knowledgeable advice about how to understand and respond to issues related to poverty and homelessness
- parish members are able to offer their compassion, prayer, and hands-on support for the Centre 454 community.