Ottawa Community Housing and COVID-19 Responses

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Follow OCHC’s COVID-19 Updates Here

Ottawa Community Housing has made the following statements

For Immediate Release 

PUBLIC STATEMENT #5:

STATEMENT – COVID-19 Response Update 

Friday, April 17, 2020 – (OTTAWA, ON)

Following the announcement on April 14 of the Ontario government and, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the province is extending the declaration of emergency until May 12. Therefore, Ottawa Community Housing has decided to maintain the closure of all OCHC offices to tenants and members of the public, including the parks, and lounges until at least May 12, 2020.   

Our staff continues to provide critical services and emergency repairs during this closure. Tenants are encouraged to contact our Call Centre at 613-731-1182, which remains open 24 hours/ 7 days a week.  As the situation evolves, OCHC adjusts resourcing and service delivery as needed. 

Our number one priority remains the health and well-being of tenants and staff.  

We have launched a COVID-19 Tenant Resources page, which provides links, FAQs and other key information for tenants that may require some assistance, such as financial support, to help pay for their rent. 

Resources: 

  • Ottawa Community Housing COVID-19 resources page for tenants.  
  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services: Online Application for Social Assistance 
  • The City of Ottawa’s Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS) program helps Ottawa residents who cannot afford to pay for items or services needed to maintain their housing and for health items that are not available through other programs. For more information, dial 3-1-1 or visit their website here.

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Contact (Media Only)
Melany Chretien
Director, Corporate Communications 
media@och.ca

PUBLIC STATEMENT #4:

STATEMENT – COVID-19 Response Update 

Friday, March 27, 2020 – (OTTAWA, ON)

As we approach the end of the month, Ottawa Community Housing is focused on providing a flexible and compassionate approach to rent collection during the COVID-19 situation. We wish to thank all three levels of government for the support that they have been providing, including the announcement of income assistance measures to help people cope with the impacts of this pandemic. 

We are committed to working with the City of Ottawa, as our Service Manager, to bring in flexibility where required. Tenants can also rest assured that no evictions will take place at this time, and until further notice. We wish to remind tenants that rent remains due on the first of each month. For those financially impacted by Covid-19, you may qualify for support by calling 3-1-1 or visit Ontario.ca/socialassistance. For tenants on Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program please contact your case worker.  

Our number one priority remains the health and well-being of our tenants and staff. That is why we have decided to extend the closure of OCHC offices to tenants and members of the public until at least April 19th, 2020. OCHC Call Centre remains open 24 hours/ 7 days a week at 613-731-1182. We will continue to provide critical services to tenants through this closure, given our status as an essential workplace, as defined by the Government of Ontario on March 23rd 

Resources: 

  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services: Online Application for Social Assistance 
  • The City of Ottawa‘s Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS) program helps Ottawa residents who cannot afford to pay for items or services needed to maintain their housing and for health items that are not available through other programs. For more information, please click here.
  • OCHC COVID-19 resources page for tenants. 

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PUBLIC STATEMENT #3:

A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO, STÉPHANE GIGUÈRE

Tuesday, March 18, 2020

Dear tenants, partners, contractors and community members;

Even during these challenging times, the OCHC team continues to make a difference every day. 

The health and well-being of Ottawa Community Housing’s tenants and employees continues to be our priority. Like many other organizations, OCHC has implemented measures that protect tenants and employees while maintaining critical services. You can read about these measures in our previous statements here: www.och-lco.ca/covid19-response/.  

Beyond the work of maintaining our properties and leases, OCHC is taking additional measures to support tenants: 

  • Community Safety Services will continue to operate 24/7 at full capacity with a focus on priority calls and proactive community patrols; they’ll also continue coordinating with Ottawa Police Service. 
  • Staff are contacting tenant leaders from more than 80 tenant groups, as well as our partner agencies, and are making efforts to identify and support tenants who may be at higher risk if they become infected. 
  • We are using social media, website, emails, our call centre and other methods (e.g. posters) to keep tenants, staff, partners and the public informed of our plans and the latest information from Ottawa Public Health.

Food insecurity can be a significant issue for tenants during events like this. We are working with the Ottawa Food Bank and other partners to ensure that food is provided to those who need it. If you wish to learn more about the Ottawa Food Bank’s response to COVID-19, please visit their website and consider making a donation. 

We are working with City partners to respond to COVID-19 as it progresses, including with the City’s Office of Emergency Management, Ottawa Police Service’s Incident Command Centre, Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 Stakeholders’ Group and the United Way’s Inter-Agency Working Group.  

OCHC has been overwhelmed by the many offers of those who wish to volunteer in our community. However, Ottawa Public Health has recommended that people stay at home for their safety and the safety of others. We strongly urge those looking to help others in Ottawa to consider donating to a community agency, such as those listed in this email. 

I know that the COVID-19 situation is very stressful, both personally and professionally, for all of us. It is important that we remain true to our core values of CARE (Collaboration, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence) and be kind to each other during those times. Thank you to OCHC staff, contractors and tenants for your understanding while we remain in emergency operations mode. 

Sincerely, 

Stéphane

PUBLIC STATEMENT #2:

OCHC CLOSES ALL OFFICES TO TENANTS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC UNTIL APRIL 5th, 2020

Sunday, March 15th, 2020 – 12:30 pm (OTTAWA, ON)

“The health and well-being of Ottawa Community Housing tenants and staff continue to be our number one priority. We continue to work with Ottawa Public Health and our partners as we assess the rapidly changing dynamics of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Public health officials continue to urge social distancing to slow the spread of this pandemic. As such, OCHC has decided that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all OCHC offices will be closed to tenants and members of the public. Our target date for resuming normal operations is April 5, 2020.  To further preventative measures, OCHC has also directed employees to work from home where operationally feasible.  

OCHC’s 24/7 Call Centre (613-731-1182) will remain open, and staff providing core services will continue to offer assistance and will be available to speak with tenants for the following services: 

  • Community Safety Services 
  • Emergency Maintenance Services 
  • Rental and Lease Services 
  • Rent Collection 
  • Housing Administration 
  • Tenant Support Workers

We will continue to strike a balance between providing essential services to tenants, while also protecting their health and well-being, as well as that of our employees. Please check back on our website for the most up-to-date information on office closures. 

We urge all tenants and employees to follow the instructions of Ottawa Public Health and medical professionals to help prevent the spread of this virus in the community.

We will continue to publish updates on the website and through our social media platforms”.

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PUBLIC STATEMENT #1:

Friday, March 13th, 2020 – 3:30 pm (OTTAWA, ON) – Ottawa Community Housing has made the following statement for immediate release:

“The health and well-being of Ottawa Community Housing tenants and staff is our number one priority. OCHC is working closely with its many community partners who serve our tenants to promote health and well-being. Furthermore, we have been working closely with Ottawa Public Health and other health partners in the following of recommendations on measures required to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 within the City of Ottawa.

Ottawa Community Housing has been taking several steps to protect the health and well-being of employees and tenants following the recommendations of Ottawa Public Health with campaigns centred around awareness, reporting, managing hygiene, and remote working. Additionally, Ottawa Community Housing has issued restrictions to business travel and public gatherings, including meetings and planned public activities. Further action includes additional protocols for visitors to OCHC offices, the increase in the frequency of the cleanings in buildings and the closure of tenant lounges on OCHC properties.

We urge all tenants and employees to follow the instructions of Ottawa Public Health and medical professionals to help prevent the spread of this virus in the community.

We will continue to publish updates on the website and through our social media platforms”.

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