Bruce House was founded at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and we’re not letting another epidemic stop us from giving hope, housing, and support to people living with HIV in Ottawa. Through the decades we have evolved, adapted, and rolled with the punches. “Difficult times” are just another day at the office for a small social-service agency.
This has very much been a “back to basics” time for Bruce House: appropriate and affordable housing, food and other basic needs, and a compassionate voice. Many of our clients are receiving a check-in every week, some more. Our focus continues to be on the needs of the individual, and not a cookie-cutter model of “one size fits most”. Do we miss the socials, Community Kitchen, art workshops, and other events? Of course—and they will be back—but our core work continues uninterrupted, if socially distanced.
As has been the case since the doors first opened, our work is made possible by our community. Living Colour Tattoo Studio and Adult Fun Superstore are both holding great fundraisers for us this month; MAC Cosmetics made a colorful donation; and employees at the Rideau Centre Starbucks are donating bags of ground coffee to our Pantry. The National Capital Pride Run is still happening, though in a virtual form. Drag & Balls won’t happen this year, but the wonderful people at OQSL have asked members to consider donating their membership fees to Bruce House in lieu of a refund. Can you imagine a better community to live in!?
We continue to receive increased support from the Ottawa Food Bank. Combined with our own purchases we are able to meat our clients’ need for food and household essentials. Using several grants for COVID-19 measures we have also purchase gloves and masks, ensuring we have sufficient PPE supplies to keep everyone safe.
We are happy to announce a substantial grant from the COVID-19 Emergency Community Support Fund administered by the United Way. This will greatly help us meet the costs associated with the pandemic as we adapt our operations and support our clients, staff, and volunteers in protecting their health.
As fall approaches so is our Annual General Meeting. We are currently discussing options for this year, so please stay tuned for details.
Keep up the great work, Ottawa, and thank you!