Paul Dewar: MP, Ottawa Centre, October 2014

Community Resources for Ottawa Centre

There was so much going on these past few weeks with my work in the Foreign Affairs dossier that it is a real pleasure to write to you now about local matters. As much as I enjoy my portfolio, there is nothing better than being in Ottawa and having a chance to go out and chat with constituents and community groups about their great work.

It is a struggle to balance my schedule when things like a trip to Iraq suddenly come into play, but I have met with some stellar local organizations and would like to tell you a little about them.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Trudy Sutton, Executive Director of Housing Help. This group helps Ottawa residents resolve landlord and tenant disputes, prevents evictions, educates tenants about their rights and responsibilities, and helps them find affordable rental housing. They also provide assistance to people in the city who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to access and maintain appropriate, affordable housing. Housing Help is an excellent organisation with staff who are working hard to improve vacancy rates in the city and fight the drastic cuts to coop housing by the federal government that come into effect this year.  They can be reached at: (613) 563-4532.

I also paid a visit to the Centretown Emergency Food Centre on Bank Street and spoke with Executive Director Kerry Kaiser and her great team of volunteers about their successes and ongoing challenges. A delightfully charismatic woman, Kerry explained the Food Centre will soon be homeless as the church basement in which they are located will be sold along with the church. They are currently looking for a new home, all while serving a non-stop flood of people coming in for their monthly supply of fresh and canned foods. CEFC also offers help on household budgeting, easy and inexpensive healthy recipes, assistance navigating financial aid services and even just an ear to listen for those who need it. Families having a hard time making ends meet as well as new Canadians, homeless folks and students on a tight budget are just some examples of Ottawa residents who come through to collect their basket of apples, eggs, toilet paper, rice, bread and other essentials that will help them through another week. If you could use some help, or would like to offer some, Centretown Emergency Food Centre can be reached at (613) 232-3059.

My staff and I visited the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, a wonderful community resource with which I have collaborated often over the years. Tucked away in Hintonburg, this team offers a long list of services to new Canadians and their families such as: settlement counselling, job search workshops, employment mentoring, immigrant women support, housing support, legal aid, English language training, counselling for individuals, families and couples, support for students, families and school administration, immigrant youth support, ESL summer camps, cross-cultural education, and community activities and events. Most importantly, it is a group of our neighbours with big hearts and kind souls working to ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally. OCISO can be reached at (613) 725-0202.

If you or your neighbours work in a small business or local organization that you think I should know about – please get in touch with my office. I would love to come and meet you.

Thanks for the honour of representing you,

Paul Dewar MP, Ottawa-Centre

613-946-8682

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