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September 27, 2018 – Following the tornadoes that touched down in the National Capital Region on Friday, September 21, OCHC wishes to thank the many tenants, staff, partners, first responders and community volunteers for being on hand to help support the thousands of tenants in some of our most vulnerable communities that were impacted by the power outages.
Immediately after the storm, close to 7,000 properties were without power; over 14,000 tenants. The danger to the health of the elderly, and those with special needs including chronic medical conditions that rely on specialized equipment was heightened the longer they stayed without power. It was also more likely that their food would spoil. Losing food has an impact on everyone and is even more keenly felt by those living in social and affordable housing who cannot afford to replace it.
When authorities provided public updates, highlighting the number of people impacted and the level of damage to the infrastructures, the OCHC team immediately reached out to multiple agencies and partners to work together to ensure that tenants still without power would have access to food. It was equally essential to make sure the most vulnerable tenants would receive a call or a visit for health checks.
The Ottawa Food Bank answered the call for help in a big way and helped staff and volunteers to deliver non-perishable food to tenants in over 25 communities by Monday morning. This is in addition to the multiple community BBQs that popped up in many OCHC communities, sometimes, led by staff, partners, and even tenants to save whatever food was left in their freezers. Due to the speed with which the food distribution operations had to be done, it is not possible to give an exact number of tenants who were helped; however, the communities visited have 3,815 households and a little under 7,500 residents, including many thousand seniors.
In addition to the food distribution by the Ottawa Food Bank, OCHC would like to thank Hydro One and Hydro Ottawa staff for their round the clock work, United Way Ottawa, RedCross and the Salvation Army, the extensive network of Community Houses and Community Health Centres, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, and Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue for helping with the wellness check visits, as well as many businesses including Cavanaugh Construction who made sure that all 13 generators were filled with enough diesel to keep emergency power and elevators running until no longer required. Corporate partners like Canadian Tire, Le Bac à Frites, and anonymous donors also participated by donating food, flashlights and radios, etc.
OCHC Recovery Efforts by the numbers:
- It has been reported that a total of six tornadoes touched down in the Ottawa-Gatineau region on September 21.
- At the height of the storm, over 60 Ottawa Community Housing communities were impacted by the power outage
- Approximately 7,000 homes and over 14,000 tenants impacted at the height of the event
- Close to 90 OCHC employee worked over the weekend to support the recovery efforts
- Countless tenants came together to assist OCHC staff and partner in the recovery efforts
- Over 25 partners joined OCHC to provide support, food and other essentials to tenants – Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!
- 25 OCHC communities (3,815 households and close to 7,500 tenants) were visited and provided non-perishable food by Ottawa Food Bank between Sunday and Monday
- Over 1,500 door knocks conducted for wellness checks, and outreach over the span of 24hrs
- 13 OCHC generators used more than 10,000 litres of diesel
- Canadian Tire and an anonymous donor donated over 1,800 flashlights and 50 radios
- More than 2,000 flashlights were distributed
- Multiple BBQs were organized over the 3 days by tenants, staff and partners
- Le Bac à Frites, a local food truck, hosted a BBQ in Foster Farm feeding 300 residents.
- Residents at 445 Richmond Road made more than 100 peanut butter sandwiches to feed their neighbours still without power.
- All OCHC communities had power restored by September 24, 3 a.m.
- OCHC & CEO social media channels:
- 71 updates sent over social media
- 1.6M potential views of OCHC posts