City staff have asked me to share the following update in regards to ongoing operations at the Heron Road Community Centre. You can read it below.

As you know, on November 23, 2023, the city operationalized the temporary Emergency Overflow Centre at the Heron Road Community Centre to support the continued need for additional community shelter space for single individuals experiencing homelessness especially over the winter months. At the time we had indicated that the duration of the use of Heron Community Centre was unknown.

The current landscape continues to shift, and demand on the system continues to grow at an exponential rate.  At this time, due to the sustained demand and need, the specific closure date of the temporary Emergency Overflow Centre at Heron still remains unknown.

We want to acknowledge the impacts and challenges being experienced by many recreational staff, program users, residents, and local neighbors. We recognize these are difficult times, and we want to sincerely thank you all for your ongoing compassion, and support in helping those in need with a safe sheltering space.

Emergency Overflow Centres – Current Status

Since late November 2023, Housing staff have supported 147 individuals to permanent housing. Notwithstanding the success of supporting the transition of individual to housing, the Emergency Overflow Centre at the Heron Road Community Centre, as well as the Bernard Grandmaître Arena and Dempsey Community Centre remain in operation. These Centres combined are supporting up to 420 individuals, compared to 260 in late November 2023, representing a 38% sharp increase in need and demand.   

All efforts are being made and city staff continue to explore every option to vacate the Heron Community Centre as soon as possible. Some of this work is being done under the Integrated Transition to Housing Strategy which outlines the short-, medium- and long-term plans and initiative to stabilize the shelter sector and increase permanent bed capacity to assist single adults experiencing homelessness.

Some of the strategies include providing an enhanced housing allowance benefit to 120 individuals to help each with securing permanent housing, the approval of a lease to convert an office building to Transitional Housing for up to 130 individuals, the leasing of Corkstown facility to support families experiencing homelessness coupled with the conversion and use of the existing City’s own family shelter facility to increase capacity for up to over 90 women as well as actively exploring other options to enhance the overall capacity within the system. The work continues to operationalize the above strategies with the aim to transition out of temporary Emergency Overflow Centres operating out of Recreational Facilities as soon as possible.

We will keep you and the community updated on the status of our planning.   For any questions related to the Heron Road Community Centre – Emergency Overflow Centre please e-mail housinglogement@ottawa.ca or call 613-580-2424, ext. 33701.

Heron Rd – Parks and Recreational Programming – Current Status

During this closure, the Heron Seniors’ Centre’s programs and membership activities continue to be offered at the Carleton Heights Community Centre, located at 1665 Apeldoorn Ave.

With the exception of the Heron Emergency Food Centre (food bank), all regular programming and services from the Heron Community Centre continue to be cancelled until further notice. Clients may find alternative programming options available at nearby City facilities.

For specific questions about programs and services relating to the Heron Seniors’ Centre call 613-226-2208.