Society of St. Vincent De Paul
St Lawrence Conference
"Turning Concern into Action"


Special Works - Ozanam House

Ozanam House

Our History

  • Ozanam House was founded in 1984 as a pre-treatment program for men awaiting admission to residential treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction. 

  • From the start, we have remained at our current address, at 88 Mulock Avenue, in the Junction neighborhood of west-end Toronto. 

  • Our name was taken from Frederic Ozanam, the founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Our Mandate

  • From the outset, we have served men awaiting admission to addiction treatment programs, though we now serve those who have either just completed treatment, or have completed treatment in the past, and who are awaiting admission to a supportive housing program. 

  • This requires that we work closely with Withdrawal Management Centres throughout southern Ontario, from whom we draw most of our residents, and with addiction treatment and supportive housing programs that we refer our residents to.

  • More recently, we have taken on some new roles at Ozanam, including the hosting of weekly 12 step meetings open to the wider community, a monthly meeting of our alumni, a formal case management process that provides more detailed attention to client needs, and an effort to involve our residents in voluntary activities in the community.

  • All that we do builds on a fundamental belief that our residents are served best not when we provide for them, but when we are able to give them the tools to live successful, independent lives, both in and out of treatment.

Characteristics and Needs of Our Residents

  • While our residents come from a variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds, most share several attributes.

  • First, they are at an early stage in the addiction recovery process. This means, among other things, that relapse is a real and persistent possibility.

  • Second, they are either homeless or inadequately housed. Many have been living in shelters, or making do with shared accommodation, informally or temporarily. Few have the resources to house themselves adequately, if at all, and almost never in the type of supportive environment that is conducive to long-term recovery.

  • Third, most need help in meeting very basic personal needs, such as dental and medical care, clothing, including adequate cold weather clothing, and access to many of the resources that most of us take for granted.

  • Finally, many, if not most, require guidance in the skills needed to live effectively in the community. Addiction is an isolating experience. When additional factors such as incarceration, psychiatric difficulties and chronic health problems are added, the ability to live effectively in the world often suffers, and our residents thus often need guidance, affirmation or admonishment in re-learning these very basic skills.

The Ozanam Staff 

All of the Ozanam staff have both professional training and personal experience in working with the concerns and problems our residents often face. 

  • We are staffed on a twenty-four hour basis with a single staff person on duty at any time. In addition, we have worked for several years with the Human Services Diploma program at George Brown College, and have had one, and more recently two students doing placements with us each school term. Finally, we have been blessed with the help of many volunteers, who help to put on 12 Step meetings, help on maintenance and renovation jobs around the house, accompany our residents to appointments, and assure that those staying with us always have an understanding person to turn to.

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