That’s how many winter months Nick spent living in an abandoned garage. Desperately trying to keep up at school. Huddling under a single threadbare blanket and slowly losing sight of the future.

Now is the time to act.

Our community is in crisis.

Nick was one of the 1,400 youth in our city who are homeless. With very limited shelter beds for youth in Ottawa, their options are few.

“The Youth Services Bureau has secured $5 million in social infrastructure funding from the City of Ottawa to build a 39-unit apartment residence to take high risk youth off the streets of Ottawa.”

And, we are going to provide far more than just a building. Youth homelessness is complex and needs a full series of support services. Our building is not merely a place for youth to sleep but a place with a full range of programs and services to set them up for a lifetime of success.

Up to 40% of homeless youth self-identify as LGBTQ


Supportive Housing for Ottawa Youth

Youth, aged 16-24, will be housed in this residence which will be built on land we own on Riverside Drive. Our goal is to raise $3,000,000 from the private sector to fully fund this project.

Here are a few of the highlights of the Support Housing Residence:

  • 27 modest sized studios
  • 6 two-bedroom studios to accommodate youth with a child
  • 6 barrier-free studios
  • All units will be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • All units will be rented at the shelter allowance rent rate (Ontario Work or Ontario Disability)
  • Main floor Youth Hub will feature a range of programs and services needed by at-risk youth

More than 80% of youth we serve avoid becoming homeless after working with YSB

Taylor’s Story

“It was a constant cycle of her being able to take care of me for a bit, then not, then coming back for me. I never really had a home. She always dated jerks who hit her and hit me. We moved to Ottawa because she was dating someone like that, actually.

Watching my mom as I grew up, it was hard not to fall into the same patterns. I had a lot of addiction issues.

I tried heroin at 15 because I was so tired of feeling alone all the time. I ended up moving into a really horrible apartment because all I cared about at that point was having somewhere to do drugs. It was too much to handle. I was just a kid, really. So I went to YSB and asked for help.

That’s when everything started to change.

I was assigned an intensive case worker who worked out a plan for my mental health with me. I got into a YSB apartment, which is where I live right now, and I’m doing really well. I’m not exaggerating when I say that YSB saved my life. I’d be dead by now, either I’d have overdosed or killed myself on purpose. Things were that bad.

YSB workers are so great. They tell you how honoured they are to work with you. It’s nice to know someone actually cares. That’s what’s given me the strength to work on getting better. Now I’m applying to colleges, something I never thought I’d be able to do.”

Taylor, 18 years old

“I’ve been in and out of foster homes my whole life. For as long as I can remember, my mom has struggled with addiction and other mental health problems.”

Up to 60% of homeless youth have considered ending their lives, 46% have made an attempt

Over 68% of homeless youth have at least one diagnosable mental health issue

Youth Hub–Critically Needed Services for Youth

Building on YSB’s expertise in all areas of youth development and support, our new residence will include a Youth Hub.

It will provide residents with a complete range of programs and services that address their diverse needs.

Our Youth Hub will feature a range of programs that are critical to meeting the needs of Ottawa’s most vulnerable youth. It will include programs and services in mental health, substance use, housing support, employment, education, primary care and peer navigation.

These programs and services will be provided by YSB, working and in close collaboration with respected community partners. Our Youth Hub will also boast youth spaces where young people can meet and engage with peers and adult allies – an important element to growth and development in youth.

Our Youth Hub will provide one stop access to vital youth services

YSB – A Track Record of Excellence

Since 1960, YSB has been a leader at meeting the needs of youth in Ottawa. We’ve grown from a small organization into a city-wide institution, with more than 350 caring professionals working from 20 locations across the city to provide a vast range of programs and services to at-risk youth and their families.

No one can match our diversity of tactics, our breadth of knowledge, or our commitment to changing and saving youth lives. We care about the work we’re doing, and it shows in our results.

In 2009, the YSB Foundation was established to link donors to our cause. Since then, community members like you have ensured more than 1,280 youth had access to housing through our emergency shelters.

More than $700,000 has been raised for YSB’s housing and community services.

More than 100,000 nutritious meals have been provided to the youth who walk through our doors. We’re building a better tomorrow for Ottawa youth by working together today.

1 in 4 shelter clients in Ottawa are youth under 17 years of age vs. the national average of 1 in 7

Introducing the Founding Families Centre

Generous Families making a difference

There has never been a more urgent need for supportive housing for homeless youth in Ottawa. To-date, we’ve raised more than $1 million of our $3 million campaign. We need to do more.

We believe one of the most powerful messages we can send to the many youth who will be off the streets and into our Supportive Housing Residence is that there are families that care about them.

So, we’re taking one of the most important spaces in our new facility, the 39 studio units where the youth will reside, and naming it our Founding Families Centre.

In order to raise the $1 million needed to name this pivotal space,  we are seeking 39 generous, community-minded families to each donate $25,000 that can be paid over a 5-year pledge period.

Our youth donors, from schools and community groups across Ottawa, have committed to raising an additional $25,000 to round out our efforts to $1 million.

Each donor family name will be prominently displayed outside each studio unit of our new building.

Every youth who walks through our doors, and calls our residence home, will be greeted by the names of the Founding Families – 39 families who have said loudly, from their hearts, ‘You Matter’!


Please consider joining us in saving and changing lives of homeless youth in Ottawa.


    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Message

    Patti Murphy, Executive Director
    Youth Services Bureau Foundation
    613-729-0577 x 1262

    Please consult with your tax advisor regarding applicable tax credits.

    If someone you know is hurting, this is the number for our 24/7 Crisis Line 613 -260 -2360

    Youth Services Bureau Foundation,
    2675 Queensview Drive, Ottawa, ON K2B 8K2


    Charitable Registration Number 840534853RR0001.