Bruce House was formed in 1988 during the height of the AIDS crisis in Ottawa. A sub-committee of the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, the AIDS Housing Group, was desperately looking for funding and a home to offer housing and hospice care to predominately gay men who were at the last stages of the disease.
Janet Bruce purchased a home that she initially intended to offer a mental health services organization, but when none of the organizations took advantage of the opportunity, Bruce was alerted to the pressing need of the Housing Group through the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation.
This first home, on Arlington Avenue, was small, and the demand was high, but it offered a safe, comforting space for people in the last days of their life, as most people in the early days entered with a death sentence looming.
The new seven-bed home on Evered Avenue, open since 1993, is able to hold more clients and with new medications, they are able to live much longer and healthier lives. They also offer many more clients who are able to live more independently assisted housing help with their apartment program, currently in 40 apartment units. They have been able to prove that HIV-positive people lead healthier and longer lives when housing is not a serious concern for them.
The office of Bruce House located here at 251 Bank is their latest space for staff. Among administrative work, they help organize fundraisers such as the popular A Taste for Life event in April, raise awareness and oversee the running of the house and apartment programs.
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