We are a community working towards building a just society where people are valued, shown dignity and respect and are given opportunity to attain a higher quality of life.
We are called to come alongside people experiencing poverty and homelessness, demonstrate the message of Christ in deed and word, show compassion, build self esteem and empower individuals through a strength based approach.
Ottawa Innercity Ministries (OIM) was established in June 1988. After years of serving the poor through other agencies, Rev. Susan Brandt and Katrine Coward answered God’s call, leaving their jobs to go into the highways and the byways, bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the poor. With the support and blessing of local churches, they became OIM’s first street missionaries to the poor in our Nation’s Capital. Mobile on the streets and operating in borrowed space, Susan and Katrine worked among Ottawa’s vulnerable, offering hope and practical care to those who called the streets their home. For the next 15 years, Rev. Susan Brandt remained with OIM, serving as its Executive Director.
A New Chapter
In 2003, Rev. Ken MacLaren assumed the duties of Executive Director. OIM’s staff and volunteer base grew along with its weekly services. Street Outreach remained as the largest component of OIM’s work but other ministries included drop-in programs, a youth art program, Work Skills development as well as individualized advocacy and referrals. Behind the scenes, and playing a crucial role, is also a faithful team of “Innercity Intercessors” who prayed daily for this ministry.
25+ Years of Service
October 27th, 2013, marked the 25th anniversary of OIM’s work. Over the years OIM has offered care and support to all manner of people. OIM focuses specifically on those experiencing poverty and homelessness in Ottawa. OIM has served street youth, sex workers, released offenders, deinstitutionalized individuals with mental illnesses, the physically ill, the socially isolated, the elderly, the least and the lost. By coming alongside the wounded and vulnerable, by offering hope and practical care, by identifying and encouraging the use of their skills and talents, OIM seeks to communicate to the public and to its street friends that the poor and marginalized are valuable and capable community members. With this idea in mind, Ken MacLaren along with former Youth Outreach Worker, Jason Pino, developed a strength-based initiative called Passion 4 Youth in 2009. Today the program, now called Innercity Arts, is coordinated by current Youth Outreach Workers Moira Davis and Dana Cote, who have seen the group grow and change with the needs of Ottawa’s most vulnerable street youth.
With the help of faithful supporters and volunteers, OIM plans on continuing to serve Ottawa’s disenfranchised citizens. Staff is excited to continue exploring new opportunities to grow OIM’s ministries and to continue working as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom to complete the mission of Matthew 25:35-40.“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (NIV)