Margaret Singleton

Margaret Singleton

Community Pillars

Margaret Singleton is a supportive housing professional and fervent volunteer with a passion for addressing escalating crises related to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Ottawa and throughout the country.

For nearly 50 years, Ms. Singleton has worked, consulted, and volunteered in the social and supportive housing field both locally and in London UK, including as General Manager of City Living/Ottawa Community Housing and Executive Director of Ottawa Salus. Described by her peers as a ‘change navigator’, she has been an instrumental leader and advocate since the late 1980’s when social housing was shifted from the federal government to the provinces.

In her measured and thoughtful way, she has worked collaboratively to bring Ottawa housing providers together to plan, define, and re-align changing conditions within a locally defined vision for the future of affordable housing in Ottawa. She has innately understood the importance of creating a strong and resilient affordable housing sector in Ottawa. As a result of her initial efforts, this small gathering of housing providers and advocates has grown and helped to shape the current landscape of affordable housing in Ottawa.

Margaret Singleton has served twice on the Board of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, including one term as President. Years later, as a staff member for the same organization, she was instrumental in reshaping the Local Leaders program by reframing it and creating specific policies on recruitment, support, and engagement of local volunteers. The program encouraged non-profit members both to engage with other non-profits in their municipal area and to create strong local relationships with municipal counterparts administering non-profit housing programs.

Recognizing a growing need in addressing the increasing numbers of people experiencing homelessness in Ottawa, Ms. Singleton was instrumental in the founding of Options Bytown Non-Profit Housing through the development of a supportive housing building in 1989, located in the heart of the Byward Market. In 2014, she rejoined Options Bytown and currently serves as the Vice-President on the Board of Directors, lending her significant expertise on affordable and supportive housing along with sage guidance to this organization that has grown to be a significant provider of permanent supported housing for Ottawa’s homeless. When asked to describe her, Margaret’s peers use phrases such as “intelligent and caring,” employs a “thoughtful approach,” is a “patient listener and educator,” “seeks to build consensus but will not sacrifice the ultimate goal she is driving towards,” and has “dedication and quiet determination.”

In the words of a former colleague, Margaret Singleton’s “leadership style was one of complete dedication and commitment guided by doing the right thing for those in greatest need in our society. She was passionate about strengthening the non-profit housing sector and making decisions that ensured its stability for years to come.” Another colleague states, “Margaret has had a lifelong commitment to improving the provision of affordable housing for those at risk of homelessness due to poverty, mental illness, and addictions, both in Ottawa and internationally. Margaret understands the importance of affordable housing in building community.”

Margaret Singleton continues to dedicate her time and energy on building up a lifelong career spent on ensuring that people have access to affordable housing that meets their needs.