Why did the SHCHC cross the street? To begin a new chapter in supporting community programs.

By Chris Osler

After 10 years at 88 Main St., the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre branch in Old Ottawa East has moved across the street.

On Sept. 1, SHCHC rented a new office at 95 Main St., a storefront space on the ground floor of Le Marquis apartment building. Situated across the street from the centre’s previous location, the office is in front of the OCTranspo bus stop at the corner of Main Street and Lees Avenue.

The former office, an old school building, had allowed the SHCHC to host programs in three large adapted classrooms. Annual occupancy costs had continued to rise and there had been no increase to SHCHC’s provincial funding for several years.

SHCHC’s management team decided not to renew their lease and to redirect the occupancy costs into supporting local community programs and initiatives.

SHCHC intends to continue to develop, support and offer programming in Old Ottawa East but to do so in other available community facilities rather than at the health centre’s venue.

Over the past decade, there have also been shifts in demographics in Old Ottawa East. One of the areas where SHCHC had noted changes was in the increased number of university students in the Lees Avenue apartments and the decreasing numbers of newcomer families there.

The centre continues to provide programs and services for newcomers to Canada living in Old Ottawa East. But it also recognizes a need to adapt to new and emerging trends as well.

SHCHC’s new office will provide a base to support community partners in Old Ottawa East. While the new office cannot host large programs, it has the capacity to host community group meetings of 10-12 people, and to continue to offer programs and services such as the Good Food Box, Physical Activity Equipment Library and Income Tax Clinics.

SHCHC is appreciative of the support shown by community partner groups CAG and Church of the Ascension that have offered to host programs that SHCHC had organized at 88 Main St.

There will be an official open house later this fall when Main Street reconstruction activity in front of the new office wraps up.

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