Call out for action!

August 24, 2008

Please help us get Fred back his housing. Say you want Fred housed immediately as he is homeless now for over 5 months. You can do this by contacting the following people. Thank you for your support.

A picture of Jo-Anne Poirier, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing

A picture of Jo-Anne Poirier, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing

Jo-Anne Poirier CEO of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH). OCH kicked him out of his housing.

Telephone: 613-520-2271 FAX: 613-731-6486 Email:

A picture of Jim Watson, Ontario Minister responsible for housing

A picture of Jim Watson, Ontario Minister responsible for housing

Jim Waton, MPP – Ontario Minister responsible for housing:

Ottawa Office:

Jim Watson, M.P.P.
Ottawa West-Nepean
2249 Carling Avenue
Suite 201
Ottawa, Ontario
K2B 7E9

Phone: (613) 721-8075
Fax: (613) 721-5756

Toronto Office:

Hon. Jim Watson, M.P.P.
Minister of Health Promotion
777 Bay Street
18th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1S5

Phone: (416) 326-8500
Fax: (416) 326-8520

A picture of Dalton McGuinty

A picture of Dalton McGuinty

Main Legislative Building, Room 281,
Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1
Fax: 416- 325-3745

Write letters to the editors:

The Ottawa Sun:

The Ottawa Citizen:

Call into radio shows like Lowell Green on CFRA etc – see the CFRA website for the schedule of shows:

A picture of 1065 Ramsey Crescent where Fred used to live until he got kicked out of his housing unit

A picture of 1065 Ramsey Crescent where Fred used to live until he got kicked out of his housing unit


Contact Us

August 24, 2008

You can contact us by contacting Sue Clark-Wittenberg in Ottawa by:

Phone: 613-721-1833


by email:

Fred’s advocates

August 24, 2008

A picture of Sue Clark-Wittenberg with her husband Steven Wittenberg

A picture of Sue Clark-Wittenberg with her husband Steven Wittenberg

Sue Clark-Wittenberg

Sue Clark-Wittenberg who is a person with disabilities and who uses a wheelchair has been an antipoverty activist in Ottawa for over 20 years. Sue has lived in Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) for over 20 years now and lives on an Ontario Disability Support Pension (ODSP) from the Ontario Community and Social Services.   Sue was a former civilian secretary for the Department of National Defence. in Ottawa.  She is a also a mental health speaker. Sue can be reached either by email: or by telephone in Ottawa at 613-721-1833

Jane Scharf

A picture of Jane Scharf

A picture of Jane Scharf

Jane Scharf is a homlessness activist in Ottawa.  She ran for mayor in the last election in Ottawa. She has been an antipoverty activist for over 20 years in Ottawa.  Jane Scharf can be reached by email:   She has been fighting social injustices for over 20 years advocating for high profile cases.  Jane and Sue have worked together since 1988.


Fred needs a place to stay

August 23, 2008

Fred needs a safe and clean place to stay temporarily until he gets his permanent housing. Can anyone please help Fred? Please call Sue Clark-Wittenberg for more info: 613-721-1833

Fred also needs bus tickets, food, toiletries and clothes and transportation to get to meetings and visit housing units when they become available for him.

Update – Fred in the media

August 23, 2008

Fred’s story has been in the Ottawa Sun, the Ottawa Citizen on the CBC website ( The Ottawa Sun will do another story on Fred this coming week.

Fred was on the CFRA show “Nick at Night” on Saturday, August 23rd. Steven Wittenberg, Sue Clark-Wittenberg’s husband was also on the call in show. Steven is a supporter of Freds.

Fred in the Ottawa Citizen, Tuesday, September 16th

Sit-in held to support evicted man

Tony Spears, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A handful of demonstrators staged a sit-in at Ottawa Community Housing to protest the continued homelessness of Fred Timms, who was evicted from his apartment in March.

Mr. Timms, who is blind, wants to live in his old Ramsay Crescent building or move to nearby Regina Towers.

“We’re not getting anything tangible (from Ottawa Community Housing)” said advocate Jane Scharf. “They’re still dragging their feet.”

Demonstrators staged a sit-in at Ottawa Community Housing yesterday in support of Fred Timms, above, a blind, homeless man who was evicted from his apartment in March for having too much clutter.

picture taken by Jean Levac, The Ottawa Citizen

Demonstrators staged a sit-in at Ottawa Community Housing yesterday in support of Fred Timms, above, a blind, homeless man who was evicted from his apartment in March for having too much clutter.

A 16-year resident of “Ramsay,” Mr. Timms ran afoul of the corporation after a fire marshal’s inspection deemed his two-bedroom apartment a fire hazard for being too cluttered.

At a mediation hearing last December, Mr. Timms agreed to move to a bachelor apartment in Regina Towers on March 15 and to get rid of most of his possessions.

Mr. Timms had been making progress when he was evicted March 1 after a surprise visit from the fire marshal.

The ordeal has left him dependent on the hospitality of his friends and “mentally and physically exhausted.”

Jo-Anne Poirier, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing, would not comment on Mr. Timms’ case for privacy reasons, except to say the housing corporation is working to find a solution. She said that, as the landlord, it is liable for any safety violations.

“It’s because we feel compassion that we’re working so hard with our community partners to see if there’s a solution that can be found,” she said.

Ottawa Community Housing is also reluctant to give anyone a room without first ensuring the tenant has proper support from community groups.

Mr. Timm feels he already has support.

If he’s housed anywhere else, “there’s my prison,” he said.

Ms. Scharf said that if Ottawa Community Housing won’t house him by October, the demonstrators would consider starting a tent city on the office’s front lawn.


Fred in the Ottawa Sun, Tuesday, September 16th

Pressure on OCH to find blind man home


Protesters overtook Ottawa Community Housing headquarters early yesterday, vowing to stage a sit-in until a permanent roof can be found for Fred Timms, a 56-year-old blind man who claims OCH CEO Jo-Anne Poirier has reneged on a promise to find him suitable accommodations.

Timms was evicted from an OCH apartment after 16 years last March for hoarding too many possessions, which, he was told, was a fire hazard.

Since then, he has bounced around between different friend’s homes, but his options are wearing thin. With no place to go, he and his supporters felt the sit-in was a last resort to pressure Poirier into placing him into another OCH building.

“I was under the impression she was going to move on this pretty quickly. I can’t wait very long,” Timms said. “We had a meeting in May, then we had one in August and still nothing has happened. I’m sure they can cut through the red tape. I’m getting sick physically and mentally and I can’t take any more.”


Timms said a mediated agreement positioned him to move into another OCH building on March 15. While he was in the midst of storing what possessions he couldn’t part with before the move, a surprise inspection by the Fire Marshal scuttled that plan, he said.

He was evicted two weeks after that inspection.

The past six months have been hell, he said.

“I’m getting so frustrated with the whole mess. I don’t care if I go to jail today,” he said.

But Poirier said complicated situations are not always as they appear. While she wouldn’t comment directly about Timms, citing privacy laws, she did say that if someone were to be evicted after a mediated agreement, the reason would most likely be because the tenant breached conditions of the agreement — in this case, that would mean Timms still had too much clutter in his apartment when the Fire Marshal visited.

“We, as the landlord, have to be sure the conditions have been met,” she said. “We want to know if the tenant can get in and out of his apartment. If there is extreme hoarding with things from floor to ceiling, that answer is no. We work with the Fire Marshal for safety.”


Fred was in the Metro Ottawa News on Tuesday, September 16th

Homeless man wants answers after eviction

September 16, 2008 05:07

Homeless for the past five months after being evicted from Ottawa Community Housing, a man moved into the lobby of OCH offices briefly yesterday, hoping to step up pressure to get resettled in a new apartment.
Fred Timms was evicted last March from an apartment he lived in for 16 years on Ramsey Crescent after the fire marshal deemed his stuffed quarters a fire hazard.
Timms admits he had too much stuff and was working to clear some of it away before moving into a smaller apartment in Regina Towers when he was evicted following a random inspection.
Since then, he has been living with friends while attempting to get reinstated in housing.
“I’ve been all over the place,” said Timms. “I just can’t take it anymore.”
Timms said he could not afford to live in private housing and is not willing to move in with someone. He said he is not asking for his old apartment back, but wants to know if and when OCH will offer him a new apartment.
Ottawa Community Housing CEO Jo-Anne Poirier met with Timms briefly in the OCH office lobby, but was not able to tell him that news.
“We no longer have a legal relationship with that individual. We are in fact a past landlord, but understand how important these issues are,” she said. “We are working very closely with our community partners to see if there is a solution that can be offered to the individual whether it’s with OCH or with another provider.”

If there is no solution by Oct. 2, Timms is planning to set up a tent outside OCH offices and live there.


Fred in the Ottawa Citizen, Tuesday, August 26

Here is the article in full text

Pack rat’ continues housing fight

Liam Casey, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An admitted “pack rat” who has been homeless since he was evicted over fire code violations in March met with the Ottawa Community Housing Corp. yesterday in an attempt to move back into a social housing apartment.

“We’ve agreed to the next step, which will hopefully provide a solution. We are committed to pursuing all of our options (with Fred Timms),” said Jo-Anne Poirier, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing.

Mr. Timms lived at Ottawa Housing’s Ramsey Crescent apartments until he was told to move from his two-bedroom unit into a one-bedroom apartment on Regina Street. While he was sifting through years of collected items, he was visited again by housing officials and a fire inspector and subsequently evicted.

“I did have too much stuff in there, I know, but I was dealing with it,” he said. “I was packing it up, getting it organized to move and that was when the fire marshal came. There are other apartments that are worse than mine, but (those residents) are still in their apartments.”

Mr. Timms began hoarding about five years ago when his eyesight deteriorated, a situation that was made worse by the death of his mother and a close friend and his son’s moving away. He is legally blind and has also dealt with depression and anxiety, which have manifested themselves in the need to hoard.

“All they have to do is shuffle a few papers and I would be in an apartment somewhere. Regina towers, Ramsey, somewhere,” said Mr. Timms, who lived in the Ramsey Crescent apartments for 16 years.

Mr. Timms has been staying with friends, at the Salvation Army and sleeping on the street since the spring. His personal belongings are packed away in two 10-by-10-foot storage units.

Mr. Timms and his supporters plan on holding a protest today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ottawa Community Housing, 1065 Ramsey Cres., but he was also hoping to again meet with an intermediary beforehand in a last-ditch effort to find a viable solution.

“I will not back down — I want to live in an Ottawa Housing apartment,” he said.

Media – Thank you for your support! It is very much appreciated.

Fred’s protest on Tuesday August 26th at 1065 Ramsey Cres

August 23, 2008

Fred is having a protest to get back his housing at Ottawa Community Housing. Scroll down for more info:


Steven Wittenberg and his wife Sue Clark-Wittenberg at the protest

Steven Wittenberg and his wife Sue Clark-Wittenberg at the protest

Protesters rally for evicted blind man

Updated: Tue Aug. 26 2008 15:19:36

Protesters on Tuesday morning demanded that a blind man be given back his apartment.

Fred Timms, 56, was evicted from his Ottawa community housing apartment in March.

He had been warned that he had too much stuff in his unit.

Timms admitted that he had too many things, and said he was trying to clean the clutter when he was kicked out for fire code violations.

Timms’ supporters say he deserves a place to live.

Fred’s peaceful protest will take place on Tuesday, August 26th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1065 Ramsey Crescent (off Pinecrest Rd.) See for directions

The picture above is the building at 1065 Ramsey Crescent

Please come out and show your support for Fred. Bring a sign with you if you can.

for more info call: Sue Clark-Wittenberg at 613-721-1833

Fred meets CEO of Ottawa Housing – Jo-Anne Poirier

August 23, 2008
A picture of Jo-Anne Poirier, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH)

A picture of Jo-Anne Poirier, CEO of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH)

See the Ottawa Community Housing website:

Fred first met with Michael Wilson the West End Manager for OCH. Fred met Michael on June 23 at 1485 Caldwell Ave. Sue Clark-Wittenberg was in attendance as his advocate.

Fred gave his story as to how he was evicted. Michael talked about the safety of the people at Ramsey Crescent as Fred had to much stuff. Michael told Fred he would have to wait for 2 years to apply for housing at OCH. Then Michael asked Fred if he were looking into other types of housing. Sue Clark- Wittenberg jumped in and said “that is an inappropriate questions as he was evicted from OCH and wants to get back in”.

Michael Wilson abruptly ended the meeting. Fred felt that OCH could have kept their agreement and let him move into Regina Towers as was planned.

Jo-Anne Poirier has her first meeting with Fred and his advocates on June 17th at the OCH head office. Fred explains his story again. Michael Wislson and a lawyer for OCH was in attendance along with Jane Scharf, Sue Clark-Wittenberg and Fred’s friend Ron.

Jo-Anne Poirier listened to everyone. Then after one hour she ended the meeting and said she would look into the situation. Michael Wilson called Fred a week later nad told him to apply to Options Bytown in downtown Ottawa. Fred went down to apply for Options Bytown and did not hear from them for about 2 weeks. Jane Scharf and Fred went down to Options Bytown. Fred had intially answered a lengthy and intrusive questionnare by a staff member the first time he went to Options Bytown. Nothing was done yet to accommodate Fred at Options Bytown.

Fred had contact with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) who said they would help him but he had not heard from anyone yet.

Fred contacted Salus Corporation and was told the waiting list was years long for any opening.

Jo-Anne Poirier has set up another appointment at her office with Fred and his advocates for Monday, August 25th at 1 p.m. Let’s see what the CEO will do this time. I will let you all know what happens.

The bottom line is that Fred will be out on the street soon, and he needs to get placed into housing now.

His health and safety are at risk if he lives on the street, he is blind. Housing is a right!

Fred’s story is international and national news

August 23, 2008

Fred’s story is now international news as it appeared in reuters news and also it is national news as his story appeared on the website on August 23, 2008. Here is the article:


last updated Saturday, August 23, 2008

A blind man who has been staying with friends since he was evicted from a city-owned social housing complex says he could soon be living on the street.

Fred Timms has been living with friends for the past five months after being asked to leave the two-bedroom apartment on Ramsey Crescent where he had lived for 14 years, but said he has nowhere left to stay after this weekend.

“I’m … on the street, basically,” he said Friday.

The eviction came after Ottawa fire officials determined in February that Timms’s belongings would be a safety hazard in case of a fire.

Timms agreed that his collection of books, CDs and tapes were packed in boxes stacked “chest high” in some places.

But he said he thought had had reached an agreement with the Ottawa Community Housing Corp., which owns the building, that he could stay if he got rid of some of his stuff.

“It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under my feet,” he said. “The bottom line is I was working on it … I was throwing out and giving away things every day.”

He is currently storing his belongings in two storage lockers.

OCH director Jo-Anne Poirier declined to comment specifically on Timms’s case, but said “hoarding” is a common problem in social housing. She added that tenants are evicted only in cases where there is a safety risk.

According to the OCH web site, the City of Ottawa is the corporation’s sole shareholder, but that it operates at arm’s length from the city and has an 11-member board of directors.

Welcome To Fred’s Website

August 23, 2008

“No man can emancipate himself, except by emancipating with him all the men around him. My liberty is the liberty of everyone, for I am not truly free, free not only in thought but in deed, except when my liberty and my rights find their confirmation, their sanction, in the liberty and the rights of all men, my equals.-BAKUNIN.

Welcome to Fred Timm’s website. You see all the categories of information about Fred at the right hand margins. Fred can be reached at 613-721-1833 in Ottawa.

A picture of Fred Timms taken by the Ottawa Sun

A picture of Fred Timms taken by the Ottawa Sun

Hello welcome to Fred Timm’s website. Fred is a blind man who is 56 years old. He was evicted out of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) in March of this year because he had too much stuff.

Here is the press release that was sent out re Fred Timms:


August 21, 2008


Protest to be held next week to get Fred back his housing, please come out and support Fred at his protest below. Post far and wide

DATE: Tuesday, August 26
PLACE: 1065 Ramsey Crescent
TIME: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For info contact: Sue Clark-Wittenberg: 613-721-1833 in Ottawa

Fred Timms who is a 56 years old man and totally blind was evicted from his Ramsey Crescent apartment that he had lived in for over 16 years by Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) in March of this year for having too much stuff in his housing unit.

Fred lived on Ramsey Crescent since 1993. Fred wants to stay in the Ramsey area because he would have difficulty getting around in a new location.

Shortly after OCH started complaining that Fred had to much stuff in his apartment. Fred had difficulty managing his furniture and property because of his blindness, therefore, he needed more help. Some help was given by the Pinecrest Queensway Health and Community Center but it was not sufficient enough to meet his needs. OCH took Fred to the Housing Tribunal and they reached an agreement for Fred to move to Regina Towers on March 15th. In keeping with the agreement, Fred made arrangements to take one load of his belongings to Regina Towers and to put the rest of his stuff into storage.

On February 15th, a random fire inspection was conducted a month before his agreed upon departure date to move to Regina Towers which was to be March l5th. On the basis of this random inspection, OCH canceled Fred’s placement at Regina Towers and took Fred back to the housing tribunal. Mary Garrett from West End Legal Services advised Fred to plead guilty even though Fred has not broken the mediated agreement with OCH. Garrett advised Fred if he pleaded guilty he could at least get 3 more months to look for another apartment. Fred pleaded guilty at the housing tribunal and not only did OCH not give him three months to relocate, they put him out on the street two weeks earlier. He was suppoed to move to Regina Towrs on March l5th and OCH put Fred out on the street on March 1st making Fred homeless.

Fred feels he has been treated unfairly and with disrespect. “This whole situation could have been dealt with properly if the property manager Nancy Ellwood had advised the Fire Marshal that there was a mediated agreement in place to have Fred’s belongings reduced. But instead Ellwood advised that Fred had to be taken to the Housing Tribunal again.

Fred says “I feel I should be housed in Regina Towers as was agreed upon by OCH”.

“Right now I feel more depressed as I have nowhere to live. I believe housing is a right. I just want a roof over my head instead of being homeless. OCH did not handle my situation fairly.”

——end of article ——-