City to invest $11.4 million in COVID-19-related social services

OTTAWA – Mayor Jim Watson joined Coun. Jenna Sudds, chair of the city’s Community and Protective Services committee, to announce how the city will disburse $11.4 million in federal and provincial funding for homelessness initiatives and for community agencies that help at-risk residents respond to COVID-19.

 The city received $6.6 million from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. This represents about half of the $13.3 million the province has committed to the City of Ottawa this year from the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative’s Social Services Relief Fund. The city also received $4.8 million in federal Reaching Home funding under the government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, bringing the total of immediate funding available to $11.4 million.

The city will use $8.4 million to strengthen its response to homelessness initiatives. Funds will be distributed immediately to support emergency shelters; isolation centres and hotel rooms for self-isolation; and physical distancing centres and hotels for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. It will also fund housing and homelessness outreach, basic needs and day programs.

The remaining $3 million will go to community agencies supporting at-risk residents in response to the pandemic.

This funding is in addition to $1.75 million the City already distributed to housing and homelessness partners for priority needs like food supplies and vouchers, added staffing and personal protective equipment.

 How to apply

Funding will be available for non-profit organizations in two categories:

Homelessness service providers and Residential Services Homes that serve individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness

Agencies that provide essential services and supports to other at-risk residents and communities during the pandemic 

Essential services are defined as food security, coordination of services to meet extraordinary needs, and direct support to isolated seniors, at-risk communities and equity-seeking communities – most notably, Indigenous people, low-income households, seniors, women (including those fleeing violence), youth, people living with disabilities, immigrants and newcomers, and rural residents.  

Agencies can  find application packages at

The application process opened on Monday, April 20. The city will accept applications by email until end of day on Monday April 27, with the aim to disburse funding to its partners in early May. Partners will be notified about funding decisions by Thursday, May 7.

The city anticipates the next $3.3-million installment of the $13.3 million Social Service Relief Fund in July and will continue to assess the evolving needs of the community.