Skip to content

Indigenous housing group hoping to break ground on Ormond Street within a year

Affordable units for indigenous elders planned for the property as clients cry for help

An organization providing affordable housing for indigenous people is hoping that two additional units on Ormond Street in Thorold will help some of their clients struggling to find a home in the community.

Private non-profit Oonuseh Niagara Homes is planning to break ground at 60 Ormond Street within a year to build a two-unit duplex for indigenous elders after a previous housing unit on the site was destroyed in a fire some years ago.

Executive director Jody Nadeau told Thorold News that the need is dire, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

“We are getting non-stop calls. People are panicked and scared. Half of the time when I get off a call I’ll cry because I can only do so much. A senior called me the other day and was crying because she was living on her friend's couch with all her belongings in a bag. She didn’t have housing. It is unacceptable.”

The company is operating around 30 scattered units predominantly in the St Catharines area.

Much like other housing organizations in the region, Oonuseh Niagara Native Homes is struggling with a long waitlist that Nadeau says she has been working hard to shorten.

But she says that working to provide housing for indigenous people in Niagara sometimes feels like an uphill battle.

“We are faced with some huge challenges, such as the fact that every other mainstream housing organization gets more funding than we do,” said Nadeau.

Like other homelessness advocates, she does not have a hard count on the most recent homelessness in Niagara after the 2020 homelessness count, performed by Niagara Region was set to take place on March 25 but was postponed due to COVID-19.

In 2018 a snapshot count performed by the region estimated at least 625 people living in homelessness in Niagara.

For Jody Nadeau, getting the houses up and running is a high priority.

“We are excited and confident that the project will move forward as planned,” said Nadeau.