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Councillors approve land for new Inuit women’s shelter in Ottawa’s south end

The City of Ottawa is selling a piece of land in Ottawa’s south end to the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition to build a new transitional housing building for Inuit women and their children.

The Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition wants to build a shelter with 28-34 beds on Forestglade Crescent, supporting women and their children affected by domestic abuse or facing homelessness.

Councillors on the finance and corporate services committee approved a proposal to declare the site as surplus and sell the property to the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition “for nominal consideration” to develop the new facility.

“The site at 250 Forestglade Crescent is ideal for this use because of its proximity to transit and parks,” staff said. “As well, it is in a quiet residential neighbourhood, which is beneficial for the women and their children as it allows for privacy and safety.”

The Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition says the new shelter will provide a “community led, wrap around supportive environment.”

“The Shelter will strengthen Inuit families, including supporting Inuit women to function independently with your children, in a healthy way free from violence and the continued effects of intergenerational trauma,” the coalition said. “The community-oriented space will be a space to break the cycle of abuse with women supporting women and the community supporting women and children.”

Officials say the new facility will be open to community members for up to six months, and there will be programming on site for counselling, employment and training support and child welfare support.

Some residents in the Hunt Club neighbourhood have raised concerns about the plans to build the shelter in the neighbourhood.

One resident told the committee that while transitional housing is important for the city, residents are wondering if the city looked at other options for the land.

“I think what we’re just a little bit concerned that what ends up coming there is something that may detract from our neighbourhood as opposed to benefiting the neighbourhood,” the resident said, adding residents weren’t consulted on the plans.

At a community meeting in April 23, residents wondered if the neighbourhood has enough supports for transitional housing.

“I’m concerned about the women coming into the community that does not have a hospital near them, that does not have a grocery store near them,” Marina Bossio said.

“What kind of security are we going to have in the neighbourhood? What kind of supervision is there going to be over the site? How are issues going to be dealt with,” Bernard Ouellet asked.

The goal is to have the building ready by 2027.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Shaun Vardon

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