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Flood displaces more than 40 vulnerable Ottawa residents

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More than 40 Ottawa residents have been forced from their homes and are facing an uncertain future after a flood in their building over the weekend.

A pipe burst at an Ottawa Salus building on Saturday morning during the extreme cold weather, flooding four floors of residences and offices. The building on Scott Street is part of a network of affordable and supportive housing for those dealing with addiction and mental health challenges.

Ottawa Salus’s executive director Mark MacAulay saying the flood has been devastating for the building's 42 residents.

“They really want to come home and have their home and have their belongings and be back there, and that’s something they are not sure of right now," MacAulay said. "So we have to reassure them every day."

The tenants have limited income and many of them receive ODSP. Ottawa Salus is appealing to the community for financial support.

“The biggest thing right now is if people can donate money to help support the transition for them as we have to look at temporary housing," MacAulay said. "We will need to move them to the new housing help pay for them to stay, then move them back here once repairs are complete."

The pipe was part of the sprinkler system on the fourth floor, cracked by ice and flooding almost every space, leaving inches of water in the basement. Ottawa Salus’s property manager says the elevator, floors, walls and ceilings throughout the building will need to be repaired or replaced.

A flood-damaged hallway at Ottawa Salus on Scott Street. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

Most residents did not have insurance to cover the damage to personal items, so many will be looking for the basics to help rebuild their lives once they can return to their units. Residents will be in limbo for the foreseeable future, as they do not have a timeline for when repair work will start or be finished.

MacAulay says Ottawa Salus started out small with just one house, and now provides homes and support to more than 700 people across the capital.

“We are focused on helping people to be resilient, to rejoin and reconnect with their community,” MacAulay said. “To live the life they want to live in the best possible way."

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