HEROS 13th program is in the country’s capital, Ottawa. After a great introduction to the city via the NHL during All-Star Weekend 2012, the program works with girls and boys of the Vanier community.
Vanier South’s strength lies in its heritage, its linguistic, cultural and ethnic diversity, and its pride. This neighbourhood is home to many New Canadians and First Nations residents. Jobs would appear to be in short supply: participation in the labour force is lower than average and unemployment is high. With household incomes relatively low, there are many children and especially seniors who live below the LICO. The vulnerability of the neighbourhood’s seniors is further compounded by the fact that so many live alone. The vulnerability of the neighbourhood’s children is further compounded by the fact that so many are ill-prepared to succeed at school.
Homes are primarily built before 1970, most being rental apartments. The number of homes in need of major repairs is a concern. Another concern is that accommodation is unaffordable for 31% of residents. Vanier South’s residents have a wide number of opportunities to purchase healthier food at nearby grocery stores but this may be unaffordable for many the 30% of residents below the low income cutoff. Other concerns include the high proportion of less healthy food outlets, and the relative lack of parks and greenspace. In particular, there is a need for winter recreation. Crime, and the low voter turn-outs are concerns.
The health of residents is of particular concern in all areas, including self-rated health, reproductive health, hospitalizations and ER visits for ACS conditions and BMI. Vanier South has a significant francophone population and was once described as ‘the poor cousin’ of the surrounding neighbourhoods (Rockcliffe Park, New Edinburgh, Lindenlea and Sandy Hill).