Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC): It’s Easy being Green

By: Yvonne Ho

CCOC: Who are they and what do they do?

Located in Ottawa, Ontario, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) is one of our GEDO hosts this year. They are a housing corporation that owns and manages more than 50 properties that provide close to 1600 units of affordable housing to Ottawa residents— with properties that include duplexes, triplexes, row houses and large apartment buildings. Run by dedicated volunteers and staff, they believe in the idea that everyone should have control over their own housing.

CCOC has always worked hard to meet the housing needs of Ottawa residents, especially those who struggle with problems that may make housing a potential risk or difficulty— such as mental health issues, addictions, and physical disabilities. CCOC works in partnership with 9 local support agencies and community partners, which has greatly increased their capacity to provide optimal housing to those in need. They strive to work collaboratively to provide support to tenants to develop the independent living skills that will help them manage their housing, achieve successful tenancies, and result in an improved quality of life.

What is CCOC doing in terms of environmental sustainability initiatives?

Sustainability has always played an important role in CCOC’s operations. They believe in the importance of championing green living principles, both within the organization and in the daily lives of tenants. In fact, they were the first multi-residential landlord in Ottawa to offer recycling to tenants in the 1990s.

On top of protecting the environment, conserving natural resources and fighting climate change, sustainability offers plenty of social and economic benefits— such as improving the health of residents and helping them save money by reducing energy costs. CCOC has implemented several core sustainability programs to help tenants live a greener and more sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Green Commitment Pledge

New tenants at CCOC are required to sign a “Green Commitment” pledge form before moving in, to commit to behaviours in their daily lives that align with CCOC’s sustainability values. Every year, tenants will receive a personalized report card that informs them about the multitude of positive impacts these lifestyle changes have made on the environment. These customized report cards are also issued to individual buildings so tenants can keep track of their collective efforts and the difference they’ve made.

  1. Hazardous Waste and E-waste Diversion Program

CCOC has launched a program to help divert hazardous waste and e-waste in all their buildings. This program allows tenants to manage and discard their household hazardous wastes (e.g. items that are poisonous, flammable, or corrosive) and e-waste safely and responsibly, thus eliminating the negative impacts the waste will have on their health and the environment.

  1. Waste Diversion Programs: Recycling and Green Bins

Waste diversion has always been a priority for CCOC. In the 1980s, they started collecting newspapers from tenants to be repurposed and used as insulation for their heritage homes. In the 1990s, they became the first multi-residential landlord in Ottawa to offer recycling programs to their tenants. In 2010, they participated in Ottawa’s pilot green bin program to bring compost bins to multi-residential buildings. As of today, CCOC’s tenants are diverting more than 255,000L of organic waste from the landfill annually!

When are they hosting GEDO?

CCOC will be hosting their GEDO open house on September 10th this year. If you live in the Ottawa area, follow them on social media—Twitter and Facebook, and be sure to visit them during their open house event to check out their many green initiatives!

If you’d like to learn more about what this wonderful housing corporation is doing to give back to their community both socially and environmentally, you can visit their website here— www.ccochousing.org.

Yvonne is an environmental professional with an educational background in environmental science and sustainability. She has several years of work experience in the environmental non-profit sector— carrying out research on key environmental issues, writing reports and educational articles, executing membership development and outreach initiatives, as well as implementing marketing and communications plans for campaigns. She has a keen interest in renewable energy, impact investing, sustainable development, and environmental laws and policies. Prominent environmental organizations she has volunteered at and worked for include Sierra Club, Environmental Defence, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and Pollution Probe. Yvonne is motivated to work together with like-minded people and organizations towards greater environmental justice and climate action.