Hydro Ottawa Limited

Hydro Ottawa Limited

October 07, 2009 08:42 ET

Hydro Ottawa and United Way Ottawa Launch Innovative Fund to Support Local Housing Initiatives

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - Hydro Ottawa and United Way Ottawa today announced the creation of a Targeted Community Investment fund to specifically support initiatives that help keep Ottawa residents in need sheltered and warm. Called the "Hydro Ottawa Shelter and Warmth Fund", and managed by United Way, the new fund will leverage the dollars contributed by Hydro Ottawa to United Way each year to match employee contributions and fundraising.

"As a provider of fundamental services in our community, we want our charitable contributions to address basic needs as well. And no need is more basic than housing," said Rosemarie Leclair, President and CEO of Hydro Ottawa. "By leveraging United Way's knowledge of our community and its needs, this new fund will help us funnel our support to the organizations best placed to make a deep and lasting impact."

Hydro Ottawa's choice of housing and homelessness as the focus for the fund builds on the company's existing contributions to the Winter Warmth program. This program provides assistance to low-income families and households who are facing difficulty paying their energy bills due to financial hardship, and may therefore be at risk of homelessness.

"We were very pleased to work with Hydro Ottawa in developing this new initiative," said Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way Ottawa. "Targeted Community Investment funds allow organizations to play a more active role in shaping our community by focusing their contributions on priority areas where their investment will make the most difference."

United Way will look for opportunities to replicate this model by working with other companies and organizations who wish to set up their own Targeted Community Investment funds.

Based on the recommendations of United Way, the Hydro Ottawa Shelter and Warmth Fund will provide assistance to several local organizations each year that are helping those most at risk of homelessness to find or maintain stable, affordable housing. 

The first round of funding will allocate $38,000 in corporate matching funds from the company's 2008 workplace United Way campaign to support four local organizations, which include Options Bytown Nonprofit Housing, St. Mary's Home, The Good Companions, and the Housing Help for Newcomers program at the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. 

The launch of the fund was announced last evening at the 20th Anniversary celebration of Options Bytown. Options Bytown offers affordable housing combined with on-site counseling, training and other services for homeless or low-income people who need help to live independently.

"We were thrilled to hear about the creation of this new fund, and to be one of the first recipients of support," said Lorraine Bentley, Executive Director of Options Bytowne. "Hydro Ottawa and United Way have developed a truly innovative model to support local housing initiatives. In the hands of local grassroots organizations, their support will go a long way."

According to the Alliance to End Homelessness, the rate of overall homelessness in Ottawa continues to grow, with more than 7,000 people requiring emergency shelter last year. The use of shelter beds increased 13% in 2008 over 2007, the number of families spending at least one night in an emergency shelter increased 14%, and the number of children spending at least one night in a shelter increased 23%. 

About United Way Ottawa
United Way Ottawa's mission is to bring people and resources together to build a strong, healthy, safe, community for all. By bringing people together from all parts of our community to identify, develop and provide solutions to community needs, we promise that the donations we receive go where they are needed most. In 2009, United Way Ottawa made a record community investment to support nearly 200 projects, programs and partnerships in more than 100 community organizations.

About Hydro Ottawa
Hydro Ottawa Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc. is the third largest municipal electricity company in the province. Hydro Ottawa is responsible for the safe, reliable delivery of electricity to more than 291,000 residential and business customers in the city of Ottawa and the village of Casselman. Hydro Ottawa is proud to be a founding member of powerWISE®, a program developed in partnership with the Ontario Government and five other electricity distribution companies to promote energy conservation to consumers, reduce the overall demand for electricity and build a conservation culture meant to last for years to come. 

Contact Information

  • Hydro Ottawa Limited
    Rosemary Walsh
    Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
    Media Pager: 613 221-0063
    or
    United Way Ottawa
    Kate Headley
    Coordinator, Media Relations and Communications
    613-683-3823
    Cell: 613-294-8128
    kheadley@unitedwayottawa.ca