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Meet Our Affiliates: Multifaith Housing Initiative

March 9th, 2017

The Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) was founded in Ottawa at the turn of the millennium as the direct outworking of various faith communities in the city of Ottawa banding together in an effort to address the rising level of “homelessness and lack of affordable housing in the city.” A Canadian non-profit, MHI has since grown to include a vibrant coalition of faith communities. MHI currently owns 41 apartment units across three different housing sites that house approximately 90 people, a third of which are children.  

Notes longtime MHI Executive Director Suzanne Le, “The Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) is a community of many faith groups working collaboratively on our shared concerns around the lack of affordable housing in Ottawa.  MHI was founded in the Archdiocese Centre in 2002 by a working group for the poor in order to respond to this housing crisis. Through outreach to other faith groups, MHI now counts over 80 faith communities as members, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i’s and Unitarians.”

While MHI’s focus is on meeting the need of homelessness and providing pragmatic solutions for the affordable housing crisis, dialogue remains at the heart of their work. States Le, “We address two issues that face our world today – the issue of interfaith peace and collaboration and the issue of poverty and homelessness. We do this by engaging volunteers from our member organizations and providing homes and a supportive community to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  MHI is more than just a housing provider; we also provide residents with support services through our many volunteers.”

As Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary approaches, MHI looks forward to marking an anniversary of its own by engaging with the public and continuing to move forward their valuable work. Explains Le, “2017 is Canada's 150th, but also our 15th anniversaryWe will be opening a community called the Haven, which offers 98 homes to house those in need in Ottawa, and has applied to receive recognition as a 150th anniversary project. In addition, we are hoping to break ground on our Veterans House project for homeless veterans in 2017, to tie in with Canada's 150, and the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.”

MHI is eager to engage the community in its work during Canada’s 150th year. Enthuses Le, “The MHI would like to extend an invitation to you and your families to join us at our annual fundraising Tulipathon, a family-friendly walk along the Rideau Canal and through the beautiful tulips at Dow's Lake. This year Tulipathon will take place on May 7. The event provides us with an opportunity to get together in spirit of love and fellowship and to witness to the charity extended to families in need. For more information, please contact Sahada Alolo at mhi.sahada.alolo@gmail.com.

Faith in Canada 150 would like to thank the Multifaith Housing Initiative for its partnership. For more information, please visit: http://www.multifaithhousing.ca/


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