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
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%).
1-Statistics Canada, National Household Survey
How we make a difference
Homelessness Affects Us All
The homeless population consists of men, women, and children of different ages, ethnic family and economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, religions, work experience, and education.
Homelessness is a Serious Issue in Ottawa
- 6,705 different men, women, youth, and families with children sought emergency shelter in Ottawa in 2013.
- Approximately 9,717 households are on the waiting list for social housing.
Support for the Homeless is Not Enough
- Ontario Works benefits for a single person was $606 per month in 2012.
- Average rent for a bachelor apartment was $766 per month.
- Minimum wage in Ontario is $11.00 per hour. For someone earning minimum wage, 49% of their income would be spent to cover the average rent on a bachelor apartment.
- There is a significant gap between what people earn and the kind of housing they can afford – putting minimum wage earners at significant risk of homelessness.
For more information on poverty in Ottawa, please click here
Centre 454’s Response
- Centre 454 is one of eight Day Programs offering services for people living in poverty and who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- The Centre is open 5 days per week during the warm weather months (April to October) and 7 days a week during the colder months (November to March).
- In 2013, on average, 148 different people visited the Centre each day.
- We serve 1,200 cups of coffee daily along with tea, juice and nutritious snacks.
- One-on-one supportive counselling is provided by two staff for 24 hours per week
- The Centre serves up to 600 people at our annual Christmas party.