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April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020


OTTAWA, April 20, 2020 – The YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, together with Ottawa Public Health, has been actively working since early March to implement preventative measures to reduce the threat of COVID-19 spreading within the Taggart Family Y’s Shenkman Residence. Four families and one individual were moved out of the residence after testing positive for COVID-19 over the last two weeks.

The Shenkman Residence is an essential service, providing a home to 300+ people in need, each and every night.  A transitional housing program that serves as overflow for the City of Ottawa’s family shelter system, the Y’s residence supports many homeless families. In addition, there is a women’s housing program, a youth housing program, and housing for individuals living on low incomes on site. Living quarters are close, not unlike a university dorm. While everyone has their own room for sleeping/living, most residents share bathrooms and kitchens. Despite increased cleaning, staggering kitchen access for residents, and educating residents on best practises for avoiding COVID-19 spread, there is still an increased risk because complete self-isolation is very challenging.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the YMCA-YWCA, the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health have been in close contact, working together to ensure the safety of our staff and residents,” said Bob Gallagher, President and CEO of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region. “We have protocols in place and have implemented all recommendations from health authorities. We are grateful for the ongoing support and direction from Ottawa Public Health, as well as Centretown CHC, CHEO and Inner City Health, who have been providing onsite clinical support during this challenging time. We will continue to work together to fight the spread of COVID-19.”

Out of an abundance of caution, Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that there be an approximate 35% reduction of people living in the residence to better allow for physical distancing. During this next phase, the City of Ottawa will relocate nearly 80 people to other facilities, following the direction of Ottawa Public Health. Moves will begin this week.
The YMCA-YWCA continues to work closely with all health authorities to ensure residents have access to testing and are isolated and moved, as per Ottawa Public Health direction. Education about physical distancing, hand washing / sanitizer, and cleaning is ongoing.  The facility remains closed to visitors. 

About the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region
Founded in 1867, the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region is a registered charity dedicated to building healthy communities. The organization is committed to nurturing the potential of children, teens and young adults, promoting healthy living and supporting vulnerable people within the community. The Y serves more than 80,000 people across the Ottawa region annually. A focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are served through all stages of life; and through its financial assistance programs, the Y is accessible to all. To learn more visit


For media inquiries, please contact:
Andrea Bailey, Director, Marketing and Communications
YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region
613.237.1320  Ext. 5167