About Us

What we do

Nelson House exists to provide safety for women and children who are being abused and to work with other groups and individuals toward ending violence against all women.

Nelson House Core Values:

We are guided by:

Accountability: Acknowledging and assuming responsibility for words, actions and decisions.  Nelson House is accountable to our clients, each other, community partners, funders, donors and the community in general.

Diversity: Including and celebrating individuals of all race, sexual orientation, religion, mental health status, ability, gender, origin, and class.

Empowerment: Supporting women in making their own choices based on their unique situations, strengths, needs and beliefs.

Integrity: Acting ethically, with honesty and fairness.

Respect: Honouring the unique abilities, skills, individuality and choices of clients, staff, volunteers, and community partners.

Commitment: Providing quality service, advocacy, adherence to our core values and mission. Striving to end violence against women and children.

Collaboration: Collaborating with clients, staff, community partners, and all levels of government to improve the lives of women fleeing abuse and to work together towards ending violence against women and children.

Safety: Supporting the physical, emotional and mental health and safety of clients, staff, and volunteers

Our background

Nelson House is a non-profit shelter, established in 1992 following three years of planning and effort by a large number of women in the city of Nepean and across the region. Nelson House provides emergency shelter and social services for women and children who are fleeing abuse in their lives.

Our Clients

Our residents come from diverse backgrounds. Often they are disadvantaged economically or are new Canadians who often lack access to the support of extended family and friends. They truly are reflective of Ottawa’s diverse community and are at Nelson House to build for themselves and their children a life free of violence.


The Board and staff run a facility known as a first-stage emergency shelter where women and children benefit from transitional housing and programs until they are able to move back into the community safely. The core of Nelson House’s service is the Residential Program, which serves on average 150 women and children per year. The 15-bed residence offers a warm home-like setting with accommodation for women with and without children.

The Crisis line answers more than 1000 calls annually, responding to the needs of women in crisis by providing support and information on safety planning, access to community services, and advocating for women to find a safe place to stay.

Nelson House also offers a variety of essential services to its clients, including financial support, information and referrals to services such as police, housing, child care, medical services, and legal services. Nelson House also offers a Children’s Program that encompasses parenting support, respite care and activities for children. A Transitional Support Worker ensures that each client is connected to the appropriate community services when she moves out of Nelson House.

If Nelson House is not able to provide housing or a needed service, the agency is able to help clients access other community services. When the shelter is filled to capacity, Nelson House turns to its network of sister agencies such as Interval House, Chrysalis House, Maison D’Amitie and/or its partners such as Immigrant & Visible Minority Women Against Abuse, to assist a woman in crisis. No woman or child is ever turned away, though due to the acute shortage of beds, women are sometimes sent out of town.


Nelson House is run by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board includes a wide range of women with diverse skills and backgrounds.
The staff of Nelson House consists of a full time team of front line shelter workers as well as part time and relief staff. There is a children’s support and advocacy worker at Nelson House and a respite/recreational worker. Staff provide a variety of essential services such as crisis intervention, conflict resolution, advocacy with community services, referral to housing and financial support, suicide prevention, group facilitation, addiction counselling, working with youth and children. We endeavour to maintain a diverse staff that reflects the community we serve.

The operation of Nelson House is overseen by an Executive Director with the support of an administrative assistant.

Support Network

Because our clients have such a variety of challenges, no single agency can possibly meet all of them. Consequently, Nelson House has worked hard to develop partnerships with many local agencies. These include, but are not limited to, The Ottawa Carleton Regional Police/Victim Crisis Services, Immigrant Women Services of Ottawa, Housing Help, The Ottawa Housing Registry, Carlington Community and Health Centre, Catholic Family Services, Family Service Centre, Interval House, Harmony House, Maison D’Amitié, Lanark County Interval House, Chrysalis House,The Women’s Shelter as well as regional health and resource centres across the region.

Our Budget

Nelson House’s budget covers the costs associated with housing, feeding, and providing services to residents. Core funding comes from MCCSS (Ministry of Children, Community and social services).
As well, we look to fundraising activities to support programs not covered by government. Fundraising and donations are essential for Nelson House to cover budget shortfalls and expenses, which often make the difference between providing a home instead of a house.

Nelson House welcomes donations as well as offers of volunteer assistance. Donors will receive a tax receipt for their contribution. Nelson House’s charitable number is: 130 630 338 RR0001