Partner Profile: Emily Murphy NPHC

Emily Murphy Non-Profit Housing Corporation has been providing supportive affordable housing to single parent families in Ottawa since 1987.


Developed in response to community recognition that single parents were being discriminated against in the housing market, Emily Murphy is now the permanent housing piece of Ottawa’s Young Parents Support Network. 


A townhouse complex, of 39 units including a program office, Emily Murphy is named after the leader of the Famous Five, who was an equal rights activist and the first female judge in Canada. Executive Director, Pam Cripps, hopes that Murphy’s legacy serves as a reminder that “you can do anything that you set your mind to.”   


Says Pam, “We are here to house young single parents, and their children. Currently this includes 37 mothers and one single father. As Emily Murphy gives priority to those who have experienced violence or homelessness, most of our residents arrive carrying trauma. Emily Murphy’s purpose is to help provide the life skills and support needed for our clients to get ahead, get jobs and move on. Success occurs when a key is handed back.”


Emily Murphy’s onsite program office is a hub for clients, offering children’s programming, celebratory meals, resources, workshops and advocacy. Family Support Worker, Kaitlyn Lecours-Brissett, shares that staff have the unique opportunity to really see how people are living and know how they are doing. “I am always listening to hear what our families are interested in and try to meet them where they are.” 


Run by a Board of Directors, and a staff of only three, Emily Murphy relies on a rotation of placement and summer students plus the ability to connect clients with other local agencies and services. 


According to Pam, this is another reason why Emily Murphy is a proud OCYI partner. “I have a 30-year history of knowing that networking is imperative. Our clients are young, single-parent families and OCYI’s partners are the resources we need to create healthy children and healthy families in our city.” 


Thanks to the growing cost of living, Emily Murphy currently manages a full waiting list and need for at least 30 more units. Donations are welcomed, including clothing, baby goods, school snacks, sanitary supplies, and anything needed to run a home each day. 


Kaitlyn adds that Ottawa can also bolster Emily Murphy through awareness and compassion. “We want people to know who we are and to learn about Emily Murphy with an open mind. These are our fellow citizens who are equal and have just as much potential.”


For Kaitlyn, the joy of working at Emily Murphy sometimes comes through small successes. “It is the little things liking making a connection or seeing a family overcome a barrier. Being a single parent is really tough and some of these people have no one. There are many daily challenges but also so many meaningful moments to celebrate.”


When asked why it is important to help Ottawa’s kids and youth to grow up great Kaitlyn points to firsthand experience. “Because we know from our training and have seen through our work what happens if children don’t have opportunities and support from a young age. Their outcomes can be very different.” 


To learn more about Emily Murphy, please visit http://emilymurphynphc.ca.


This story is part of the March 2024 Ovation. This story is also available in French.