Since 1982, Daybreak Housing has been a place to call home for men and women who not only have difficulty finding affordable housing but also struggle with issues such as mental health, recovery from addictions, escaping abusive situations and limited life skills.
Daybreak Housing had its beginnings in compassion. In 1980, deeply disturbed about the quality of life and how desperate these men and women felt about their situation, Reverend Percival brought together a study group from a number of churches in downtown Ottawa, including Bell Street United, St. Luke's Anglican, McPhail Baptist, Knox Presbyterian, Christ Roi Catholique, St. Jean Baptiste Catholique and McLeod-Stewarton United. Their concerns about the number of people in need of financial assistance led to the establishment of the Daybreak Non-Profit Shelter (Ecumenical) Corporation in 1982. Reverend Percival was the first president of the corporation and later became known as 'Father Daybreak.' . The name 'Daybreak' was chosen to signify a new beginning in life for the residents who benefit from our safe, affordable, comfortable housing.
Daybreak Housing opened its first house in April, 1983 with funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. With eight rooms, it was initially a home for women, but in 1985 was converted to men. In September 1983 another 10 rooms for men were added. In 1985, the communities of St. George's Anglican, St. Andrew's Presbyterian and Dominion Chalmers United Churches joined in supporting Daybreak's mission and a third house opened on a long-term lease with St. George's and the Anglican Diocese. (Now St Peter’s and St Paul’s, members of the Canadian Anglican Council of Churches)
Our fourth house was donated by Mrs. Mary Murphy. Thanks to capital funding from what the province, it opened in January, 1990, with five rooms for men and two self-contained one-bedroom apartments.
In September, 2001 in partnership with City Living (now Ottawa Community Housing) and the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and with additional funding from the provincial Homelessness Initiatives Fund and the federal government's Supporting Communities Partnerships Initiatives, our fifth location was born. This building offers 12 rooms for women and increased Daybreak's capacity by 38 per cent. By 2022, our vision will see capacity increase by 50% with self-contained bachelor and one-bedroom units.
Mayor Marion Dewar opens our first house in 1983.
L-R: Margaret Singleton (City Living), Sr. Rita Kehoe
(The Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception),
Monica Siengenthaler, (Past Executive Director)
Tenant, and Somerset Ward Councillor Elizabeth Arnold