History

It has only been 33 years since our humble beginnings to where Shepherds of Good Hope is today. Today, we are one of the largest not-for-profit organizations dedicated to serving the needs of the poor and the homeless in the city of Ottawa.

It started on a cold day in January, 1983, when the priest of St. Brigid’s Catholic Church received a knock on the door. There stood a hungry man asking for food. The kindly priest made the man a sandwich. The next day – another knock on the door and so it continued day after day. Finally, the priest put an ad in the newspaper looking for volunteers to help feed the men and women who were lining up for food. That’s how St. Brigid’s Soup Kitchen, the predecessor of Shepherds of Good Hope, was born. On February 7, 1983 – the first day the soup kitchen opened – 23 people received a meal.

Today, we are more than a soup kitchen.

We are a shelter for men and women. We run a food and grocery program for everyone in the Lowertown community. We host an evening drop-in, where people can get a hot bowl of soup and a sandwich or just be part of the community.

We recognized early on that we needed to do more than provide shelter, food and clothing. As important as they are, Ottawa’s most vulnerable men and women also need access to health care, programs that helped them cope with their addictions and mental health challenges. They need the tools to find jobs and housing.

We also recognized there was a role for us to play in housing. Today, we operate five supportive living facilities that provide men and women with independent living but with the 24/7 support and care of staff and volunteers.

Today, we operate eight facilities around the city to serve the needs of our clients. These include;

233 Murray Street – Main Soup Kitchen, Food Bank, Clothing Program and Administration
230 Murray Street – Men’s Shelter with 84 beds
256 King Edward Ave – Transitional Emergency Shelter Program-TESP with 49 beds, Managed Alcohol Program with 24 beds, Women’s Shelter with 54 beds, Women’s Special Care Unit with 16 beds, Workers Program with 24 beds.
208 St. Andrew Street – 35 supportive living units
78/80 Nelson Street , Brigid’s Place – Housing First for Women, 11 units
1057 and 1053 Merivale Road, The Oaks – Supportive living, 55 units
145 Castlefrank Road, Hope Living – Supportive living, 99 units
211 Bronson Ave., Good Day Workshop

All of our programs support an atmosphere of living in a community-enriched environment.