Brigid’s Place

Brigid’s Place started as a pilot project in November 2008 in response to the identified need for supportive housing services for chronically homeless women in Ottawa. We operate from a belief in the following principles:

Safe and affordable housing is a universal human right for all people regardless of lifestyle.

Housing-First which recognizes the importance and necessity of safe housing as a first step to maintaining stability and progress in other areas of life.

Harm reduction through client centered and flexible services and support in order to promote safety and health amongst residents without requiring abstinence.

 

Brigid’s place provides housing for at risk, chronically homeless women. It is the first minimal barrier housing program in Ottawa specifically designed for women living with concurrent mental illness, addiction and other challenges.

Brigid’s Place offers a high tolerance, low-barrier environment and follows a harm reduction/health promotion philosophy.

Brigid’s Place offers 11 single occupancy rooms and communal kitchen, living room and bathrooms. We are staffed 24 hours a day with additional support from the management team, placement students and volunteers.

All meals are included in resident’s board and lodge which is paid in part through their social assistance cheques (OW/ODSP) and subsidized by the City of Ottawa on a per diem basis under the Domiciliary Hostel program. Our team of frontline staff are involved in assisting residents with medication, case management, crisis counseling and mediation as well as additional support as required.

In addition, we have partnerships with external agencies including Ottawa Inner City Health, Oasis Clinic and the Elizabeth Fry Society, who provide health and social services to our residents on an outreach basis.

Our program was developed in partnership with the residents who live at Brigid’s Place. We place strong emphasis on inclusive decision making whenever possible with the goal of our residents feeling a sense of ownership and community in their home.

Many of our residents tell us that this is the first safe housing they have had in many years, if ever at all. They appreciate having their own space and the independence and autonomy to come and go as they please. There is a strong sense of community and commitment to the house. The majority of residents attend our regular resident meetings, and feel as though their voices are heard and considered in all house decisions. It is very important to us to keep the house feeling like a home and not an institution which many of these women have called home for most of their lives.

 

Many of our residents have experienced a decrease in their substance use in both amount and frequency since moving into Brigid’s Place because they have alternate “normal” activities to participate in and the stability that housing brings. They also report feeling less drug cravings as a result of not living on the street with the triggers/trauma of this lifestyle. Through our social initiative program, women express that they are able to earn income in less harmful ways.

For more information on this program, please contact:
Lindy Rosko
Senior Manager
lrosko@shepherdsofgoodhope.com