Community Update – March 2020


March 16, 2020

Hello friends,

I have received many emails and phone calls inquiring about how Capital City Mission is responding to recent developments with COVID-19. Over the weekend I followed the updates of Ottawa Public Health closely and connected with other organizations in our city.

Effective March 16th, we closed the indoor space at our drop-in and we have suspended all volunteering to limit the number of people at risk. We will, however, continue our daily presence on Rideau Street. We will provide coffee & sandwiches from our kitchen window which opens onto the sidewalk.

Today was our first day operating this way and it worked really well. It gave us a chance to connect personally with those in our neighbourhood. We were able to communicate that we will be supporting each other in this time. We also encouraged each person to keep safe space between themselves and others as much as possible. We emphasized that we do not need to be anxious but we do need to be responsible. It is our hope that closing our doors now will be part of the effort to limit the spread and to open again sooner.

While the physical safety of those in our community and all of those in our city, country, and globally is our top priority, we also recognize the drastic effects that this pandemic can have on the mental health of our neighbourhoods. Our decision to maintain a daily presence is a response to the mental health needs of our neighbours. Self-isolation and “social distancing” is very hard for those living the challenges of unstable housing and poverty. Some must continue to stay in shelters, others must leave their small bachelor apartment or rooming house for food services in the community, and others must not completely isolate because the effect on their mental health will be too much to manage. It is for all of these reasons that we will maintain our daily presence at 521 Rideau Street.

You may be wondering, “How can I help?” In the coming days and weeks our needs will become more clear and I may reach out for help in new and creative ways, but for now the best thing you can do is to stay home. At this point, let’s love our neighbours by limiting the risks of exposure. Please, also join with us in prayer. I ask your prayers for discernment for staff (as we continue listening to health reports and responding to changing concerns) and for comfort to all those in our community, city and world in these concerning times. Also, pray that our community will see that these actions are taken out of concern and love.

At this time we feel we have found the appropriate balance in supporting the diversity of needs in our community and we will continue to respond to public health updates. We are so grateful that we are in a space that allows for us to stay connected.



Keltie Davidson

Executive Director

Capital City Mission