Cornerstone began by setting up three cots in the basement of a church in Sandy Hill. They were filled immediately, so a couple more were added. They filled up, too.
Back then, we saw that women at risk of homelessness had nowhere to turn. We felt compelled to respond, to be there for them, to build a safe place for women in desperate need. This need has only increased over the years, as women continue to be at risk of homelessness – and thankfully, with the help of our donors and volunteers, so has our response.
Community support has enabled us to expand our services to provide supportive, comforting homes for up to 200 women every day who have reached the end of their own resources. Each residence is suited for a different level of support, from overnight shelter to supportive, permanent, affordable housing, depending on each woman’s needs and goals. Plus, we offer a vibrant outreach program to women living in community.
We want every woman in Ottawa to have a safe, affordable place to call home so she can reach her full potential in a caring community. It's that simple - and that ambitious, because each year in Ottawa, almost 1000 women become homeless.
Hope, love, and faith are the pillars of our community. Each of our five Cornerstone housing communities is a tightly-knit family of caring staff, passionate volunteers, dedicated donors, and of course, inspiring tenants. Together with you, we’re improving the lives of women moving beyond homelessness.
Cornerstone is here for the almost 1000 women who are homeless or are at risk of being homeless in our nation’s capital, each and every year. These women find themselves in the most vulnerable and dangerous situations, for any number of reasons.
Elise tried living with her sister and her family, but serious mental health challenges made it too hard to sustain.
Shonda is working full-time, but her income isn’t enough to pay rent on her one-bedroom apartment.
Marie lost her home fleeing an abusive boyfriend, who changed the locks when she worked up the courage to leave him.
Emma lost her home fleeing an abusive boyfriend, who changed the locks when she worked up the courage to leave him.
Yana is new immigrant to the country, with no support system in place to lean on through the transition.
Every Cornerstone women has her own story. Each has struggled to survive.
Without Cornerstone, these women can become caught in the vicious cycle of poverty, trauma, and danger on the streets of Ottawa. We’re there to help women break that cycle, as they move out of crisis and instability to take back their own futures.
One night in a hospital costs more than $1,000. One night in jail costs about $500. Supportive housing at Cornerstone costs much less – between $19 and $115 a day – all while enabling a woman to use her skills and energy for sustainable work, emotional healing, and independent living.
As a woman begins to stabilize her life at Cornerstone, something incredible happens – she becomes a powerful contributor to her own community. Cornerstone residents, both past and present, become volunteers who support our community’s vulnerable groups. They return to school and receive training, becoming valuable employees. They transition away from expensive emergency services.
They are no longer just receiving. They are giving back.
“What I like most about Cornerstone is their focus on dignity. They don’t just give people shelter and food, but also a community and the support they are missing . . . every residential community they operate meets a specific need.”