The Salvation Army's Ottawa Transitional House is celebrating 10 years in the community of Hintonburg, just west of the downtown area. The house is an extension of the Ottawa Booth Centre men's shelter and provides minimum support housing for homeless, single adult men with limited resources and income as they make the transition to appropriate independent living situations. Each of the 16 men is given a private furnished room and after achieving some degree of independence, they have the opportunity to practice and hone independent living skills and social reintegration.

“There was some initial concern from the community when The Salvation Army opened the house,” says Steve Ridgley, program supervisor at Transitional House, “but the residents have become a helpful presence to the neighbourhood and all the initial fears have disappeared. I am lucky to have seen the house grow from a time when the community did not trust us, to the present when they now come to us for assistance.”

The house residents volunteer their time to help set up, run and clean up the six festivals in Hintonburg every year. The men also volunteer with Parkdale United Church and help local residents with chores such as gardening, shopping, small repairs and neighbourhood watch.

“We are celebrating 10 years of our clients having the opportunity to practise socialization in a positive way and the community has responded and embraced the house,” says Ridgley. “These men are now part of the community and any stigma from their past is virtually erased.”

Derrick Shears, a former resident of the house who now lives independently, spoke at the 10-year celebration barbecue in July.

“I became a part of the community and it was just amazing. It released a lot of the anxiety and frustration I had. No one judged me and they all wanted me to get involved,” said Shears.  “This place is for people who are trying to change their lives.”

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