Ottawa Housing Blitz Update

Aimed at housing 100 households in 100 days, the Housing Blitz was a community-wide effort to get people housed quickly and learn more about the barriers to affordable housing in our city. The initiative was led by the City of Ottawa and the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, working closely with Indigenous housing partners.

By the numbers

  • 30 households were able to find homes through the Blitz.

  • 10 of those households were Indigenous.

  • 36 volunteers worked with us. They made phone calls, gave crucial feedback, and helped shape the evolution of the program.

  • 900 calls to landlords were made, resulting in 711 conversations.

  • 42 landlords participated.

Why try a Housing Blitz?

  • Cities have had success with housing people through similar Blitzes. Every person housed is a success.

  • The pandemic changed the landscape of housing. Many AirBnBs weren’t able to host short-term stays; some students doing classes online may not have returned to Ottawa for the semester, and less people were moving in general.

  • We learn by trying. We knew we might not meet our goal. But could we mobilize our community to try? With everyone trying together, could we learn more about the barriers people face getting housed? The answer to both questions is yes.

What we learned

  • This is an opportunity for growth. We’re using what we’ve learned here for a long-term strategy connecting landlords to people in need of affordable housing.

  • Housing is not affordable. Yes, we knew that. But the documented average market rents in Ottawa aren’t able to reflect the changes the housing market has seen during this pandemic. Even with all of the resources, expertise, and energy to house people, finding affordable rentals was like finding a needle in a haystack. 

  • People who experience homelessness face discrimination and stigma. This is another one we knew. Indigenous people encounter an added layer of discrimination. Learning more about the specific barriers Indigenous communities face in finding housing in our city helps us learn how to address it. We see the strength of racial equity movements and know we need housing approaches that create a more fair world, where housing is a human right for all.

The Housing Blitz was a strong, coordinated effort to have an immediate impact on our communities. Collectively, we found homes for 30 households. We know there’s a long way to go, that there are many more people to house, and keep housed. This is one step on that journey, with concrete impact. We thank every volunteer, every landlord, and every supporter who carried our vision. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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Address: PO Box 22021, Ottawa, ON K1V 0W2

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