Subsidized vs Social Housing

Subsidized housing is for single people or families of low income who cannot afford private market rent. It is a government program put in place to reduce the rent charges for tenants living in social housing. The rent paid by the tenant is calculated according to the family revenue. That program is commonly known as rent geared to income (RGI).

Social housing is rental housing provided under a variety of government programs. This type of housing is operated on a non-profit basis by municipal corporations, private non-profit corporations, and co-operative housing groups. They all have some portions of units with rents geared to household income. There are approximately 24,400 units of social housing in the City.

There are 3 types of social housing:

  • Municipal social housing – In the Ottawa region, Ottawa Community Housing is the only one that exists at this level. Ottawa Community Housing Corporation (previously called City Living, Ottawa Housing Corporation) manages 16,000 housing units, some of which are subsidized while others are market rent.
  • Private housing providers managed 4,800 units in the Ottawa region. Centertown Citizens Ottawa Corporation is the biggest corporation which manages more then 1,254 units downtown Ottawa and west Ottawa.
  • Cooperative Housing is managed by the members of the coop whom are tenants living within the coop. The applicant must attend an orientation session for their application to be considered. The members are required to participate in certain activities to help manage the coop. It is important to inform yourself of how many hours and the types of activities for your volunteer work are required. There are 3,800 units managed by the housing coops in Ottawa.  For a complete list of housing coop please consult the Ottawa Housing Directory of visit the city of Ottawa web site.

Many of these types of housing providers have accessible units for people with special needs or that are living with disabilities.

How to obtain subsidized social housing

Apply to the Social Housing Registry of Ottawa ( All applicants are registered in a modified chronological order. For more information you can:

You can also get a subsidized housing application form at one of the following addresses:

  • Action Housing: 150 Montreal Road, Suite 305
  • Housing Help: 309 Cooper Street, Suite 502.

Some housing providers are not registered with the Social Housing Registry of Ottawa Carleton. To apply with them you need to address each and every one individually. To get a complete list of providers consult the Ottawa Housing Directory or visit the City of Ottawa web site.

How to access social housing at market rent

Some social housing providers also offer units at market rent. Market rent housings are comparable to some housing on the private market. To apply, you need to address each and every provider individually. To get a complete list of providers consult the Ottawa Housing Directory or visit the City of Ottawa web site.