Cornerstone Housing for Women

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This profile originally appeared in the 2019-20 Giving Guide. Read the full magazine here.

Every year, almost 1,000 women become homeless in Ottawa. Cornerstone provides emergency shelter and safe, permanent housing for a diversity of women plus an outreach program called Community Connections. 

We offer emergency shelter to women, as well as four supportive and affordable housing residences. Our goal is for every woman to have a safe, affordable place to call home so she may reach her full potential in a caring community. We have more than 65 full and part-time staff and almost 300 volunteers. Every year, we provide more than 140,000 nourishing meals. 

Cornerstone provides basic needs and a variety of support programs, such as spiritual support, safety planning, mental health and addictions support, age in place supports for senior women, life-long learning centre, employment counseling, crisis counseling and housing search.

At a glance

Year founded: 1984

Geographic region of focus: Ottawa

Total Revenue for Last Fiscal Year:  $4.9 million

Top funding sources:

  • Government: 48%
  • One-time transformational gift (2018): 18%
  • Rents: 15%
  • Individual Donations: 12%   
  • Other: 7%

How you can help


Last year, thanks to the extraordinary support of our community, we opened our new 373 Princeton Ave. project. This building is now home to 42 women moving beyond homelessness into hope, healing and home. 

Our work is far from over. 

With an emergency women’s shelter in addition to four housing communities and an outreach program, we look for the help and generosity of the community to truly make Cornerstone a warm and loving home for almost 500 women each year. 


As a Cornerstone volunteer, you can be a vital piece of the puzzle that helps women break the cycle of poverty and homelessness and build a new life of hope and stability. Here are a few of the ways you might like to volunteer at Cornerstone:

  • Sorting food donations and helping prepare the nutritious meals that fuel Cornerstone women.
  • Providing transportation and accompaniment for appointments, housing search and moving.
  • Organizing activities like arts and crafts or games nights, off-site adventures and exercise programming that keeps every day joyful and new.
  • Providing haircuts, tailoring a dress or a pair of pants, and sorting through donations, so residents can feel like their best selves and live with dignity. 

We welcome new ideas and projects to accommodate your special skill sets! We welcome everyone to start the conversation about volunteering at Cornerstone.

Events and fundraising 

Purple Tie Gala

Thanks to our generous sponsors, partners and friends, we held our first annual Purple Tie Gala in September 2019. Over 300 guests danced the night away at the beautiful Ottawa Art Gallery and raised at total of almost $90,000.

Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB)

Cornerstone’s Young Professionals Advisory Board members contribute to the success of Cornerstone Housing for Women through volunteering, advocacy and fundraising efforts. YPAB members deepen their understanding of the roles of non-profit board members, plus learn the value of fundraising.

Members come from a range of industries and backgrounds but are driven by their common goal of bettering their community and educating others about women experiencing homelessness in Ottawa. YPAB members expand their social circle while doing good.

Board members and executives

Rainbow and Hassard

Executive Director Kia Rainbow (left); Chair of the board Patricia Hassard

Arpad Abonyi

Barb Belohoubek

Katie Black 

Margaret Bloodworth

Marilyn Box

Kara Eusebio

Mark Holzman

Peter Martin 

Margaret Pachanos Lamaire

Wilda Phillips 

Sanjay Grover

Fundraising priorities

  • Food, supplies and programs for our busy, downtown emergency women's shelter that serves over 60 women each day and night.
  • Job-readiness and education initiatives like our Life Long Learning Centre and Educational Bursary.

Get in touch

314 Booth St.
Ottawa, Ont.
K1R 7K2

Twitter: @HopeCornerstone
Facebook: Cornerstone Housing
instagram: @hopecornerstone