Almost a year after the building it was renting was sold, an Ottawa non-profit agency has found a new home.


Maureen Moloughney of Heartwood House said the new space will allow more charities to move in. ((CBC))

Heartwood House leases space for 16 small charities in the Beth Shalom synagogue on Chapel Street.

But last November, their space was sold to developers building highrise apartments.

By March, Heartwood House hopes to have moved in to its new home in Vanier, a $2.8 million former department store.

More room, more charities, agency says

Maureen Moloughney, who runs the agency, said the extra space would allow more grassroots charities to move in.

The charities range from a sewing program for immigrant women to affordable laundry services. Many have one or two employees and survive because of the low rent.

Kim Oastler heads a group called ALSO, Alternative Learning Styles and Outlooks. It helps 100 clients in its adult literacy programs.

Oastler said graduates sometimes go on to volunteer at Heartwood before looking for a job.

"When you have folks who are sort of on the fringes of society, and trying to get back into more mainstream … it's very scary moving from one place to the next," she said. "So we take so much time to work with students to build trust. … They develop the skills, they develop the confidence, they're properly supported, until they're really ready to take that next step."

Moloughney said it's good to have a bunch of agencies working in close proximity to each other.

"You have sounding boards all throughout the building because we come to know each other," she said. "Somebody might have taken a particular strategy for a grant that might work very well for your strategy, so this small village concept works."

Heartwood House hopes to raise $750,000 to renovate the new space, and so far they're more than halfway there.