Programs and services

Harmony House offers many programs and services to our residents and their children. Many of these programs and services are also open to former residents.

Our staff

Harmony House is a non-profit organization run by a compassionate and dedicated volunteer board of directors.

Harmony House consists of a full team of front line workers with a diverse set of skills and backgrounds. Staff roles include a women’s advocate, housing advocate, family and children worker, outreach worker, safety and environment worker, and volunteer coordinator.

The operation of Harmony House is overseen by an executive director with the support of an administrative assistant.

Family and children's program

This program recognizes that children who have witnessed violence have needs that are independent of their mothers. . Because of this, Harmony House acknowledges that we have a special responsibility to the children in our care.

As part of this program, we offer:

  • Mothers intake, an initial needs assessment designed to assist moms to support their children to heal and move beyond their experience of violence;
  • Information about the family and children’s program services and supports offered;
  • Individual and group counselling, family night, respite care, and parenting support groups;
  • Information, support, and accompaniments for moms dealing with family court for custody and access;
  • The Explore After 4 program, which is designed to help children learn about diversity and complete homework assignments;
  • Summer Recreation program, which is offered during those hot summer months while the children are not in school.
Food bank

Harmony House receives weekly deliveries from the Ottawa Food Bank. Our food bank program is available for current and former residents. On average, 20 to 25 families participate weekly.

Housing and transitional program

The housing support worker assists residents in accessing and transitioning into safe housing in the community and acts as an advocate for women in all matters related to housing. The goal is to provide full support through the housing process so they may leave the shelter and establish their independent lives free from violence.

As part of this program, we offer:

  • Access to housing needs and options;
  • Assistance in filling out housing applications;
  • Accompaniment for housing offer viewings, lease signing, and cooperative interviews;
  • Housing tours to help women become familiar with areas in Ottawa;
  • Letters of housing advocacy and support;
  • Safety planning in a new community;
  • Resources for moving into a new community;
  • Help with moving options;
  • Help with furniture resources;
  • Information on tenant rights and responsibilities.
Outreach program

This program has three primary functions:

  1. To ensure residents of Harmony House are assisted in the transition back into the community after leaving Harmony House by providing information, practical assistance, and supportive counselling as well as by facilitating skill development groups and providing advocacy with the various systems women may encounter in re-establishing lives free of violence;
  2. To continue reaching out to women with disabilities and women in conflict with the law who are experiencing violence by reassessing their needs and developing appropriate responses;
  3. To explore how having on-site support available to women coping with addictions may assist women to free themselves from violent situations.

As part of this program, we offer:

  • To connect with ex-residents before they move into a new community and providing them with community resources as needed;
  • Support to ex-residents through advocacy, safety planning, and resource referrals, as needed;
  • Support groups for residents and ex-residents;
  • Written documentation such as, but not limited to, letters of advocacy for ex-residents and agencies when required;
  • Assistance in developing and liaising with a network of community partners from which we can draw and provide support;
  • Public education activities and committee meetings on behalf of Harmony House;
  • Up-to-date knowledge of AODA requirements, and research on “best models” and accessibility issues;
  • To attend court as support for women as needed.
Residential program

The women’s advocate ensures units remain at full occupancy and provides advocacy and support to all residents throughout their stay at the shelter.

As part of this program, we:

  • Offer supportive and non-directive counselling to residents;
  • Help with safety planning;
  • Conduct applicant selection and intake interviews according to priority-settings guidelines and Harmony House’s mission;
  • Conduct intakes and outtakes as residents move in and out;
  • Work with women and children in a goal-directed manner, which may include assessments, counselling, and coordination of service delivery from agency and community programs;
  • Make referrals and may accompany women to advocate on their behalf within the legal and judicial systems, housing, and other service supports;
  • Develop and liaise with a network of community partners to provide advocacy and develop relationships that can be drawn upon for support;
  • Maintain and update waiting lists for potential residents;
  • Develop and deliver creative programming for residents based on their feedback and identified needs;
  • Provide conflict management and resolution;
  • Facilitate the use of appropriate interpersonal skills between children and parent as needed;
  • Provide an emotionally supportive environment and are aware and supportive of the individual needs and goals of (ex)residents of Harmony House;
  • Organize and facilitate support/skill development groups as required.
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