To get a better idea of who uses Centre 507 and why, Carleton University placement student Chantelle Carrier surveyed 112 participants in October 2003 . The survey was optional and anonymous, and based on a City of Ottawa model. “The power of simple conversation should not be overlooked,” Chantelle wrote in her final report. “We often forget how some people don’t have others to share in their joys and sorrows and how vital this is to the human spirit. Just for someone to hear that someone is proud of them for getting a job or for taking the next step to go to detox, or having someone to listen…when they are feeling down is a very important thing.”


Who we serve

• 90% male
• 27% between 39 and 45 years old
(age bracket with the most
• 82% between 25 and 59 years old

Where participants live

• 37% in rooming houses
• 70% in rooming houses, subsidized
housing, shelters, outdoors, shared
accommodation or YMCA
• 65% in Centretown

Top ranked services
(number of mentions as most useful or enjoyable)

• snacks/coffee (85)
• toiletries (48)
• clothing (45)
• movies (44)
• information (43)
• Christmas food hampers (42)
• safe place (42)
• socializing /having fun (40)
• phone/messages (36)
• computers (35)

Other services participants would most like to see
(ranked by category)

• Activities: crafts, board games, sports, YMCA, etc.
• Employment: on-site, support, job bank, etc.
• Counselling: substance abuse, anger management, self-esteem, etc.

Other highlights

• 9% have income other than social assistance
• 49% have been visiting the Centre for more than two years
• lengthiest relationships with Centre 507 were 12, 15 and 17 years
• 58% visit 2–3 times per week or more

In their own words

Of the 32 survey comments, there were 20 compliments, 12 suggestions and no criticisms. Here’s a sample:


• “differs from other drop-ins and food kitchens in its human touch… a great boon to self esteem when we are treated as human, not a statistic.”
• “…does not seem as rough as the others… less swearing, rudeness, intimidation….”
• “We are lucky to be able to come to a place like 507.”


• “Hours should be a little longer.”
• “Air conditioning would be a big help.”
• “I would like to see meals in the future, not just snacks.”
• “Less corn and peas in the soups. I hate corn!”