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Navigating Resilience and Long-Term Prosperity in Innovative Housing

Explore CCOC's transformative journey: How a visionary approach and inclusive planning redefined the future of a leading non-profit landlord amidst a rapidly evolving landscape.

Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) is a private non-profit landlord.

Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC),  embarked on a transformative journey as it neared its 50th anniversary. With a portfolio of 53 properties housing approximately 3,000 tenants, CCOC blends housing with community services, managing 1,753 apartments through a tenure-blind model. This approach, coupled with collaborations with organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association, positions CCOC as a supportive housing leader.

The Challenge

Confronting an outdated strategic plan from 2012, CCOC faced the challenge of evolving in a rapidly changing financial and legislative landscape. This period of transformation brought about staff mistrust and fatigue, emphasizing the need for effective change management and a new strategic direction.


Our Approach

CCOC’s strategy for developing a new plan was comprehensive and inclusive, involving:

  • Environmental Scan: Assessing economic, cultural, and social factors impacting the organization and stakeholders.
  • Community Engagement: Conducting town halls, surveys, workshops, and interviews with staff, volunteers, and committee members to gather insights.
  • Strategic Development: Formulating a plan aligned with CCOC’s long-term vision and community needs.
  • Operational Planning: Implementing strategic goals through actionable yearly operational plans, with regular reviews for adaptability.

The Impact

This participatory approach led to a strategic plan that resonated with all stakeholders. The environmental scan ensured the plan’s responsiveness to both internal and external factors, while the operational plans maintained CCOC’s agility in face of ongoing changes. The outcome? A roadmap fostering organizational resilience and growth, enhancing CCOC’s commitment to its community.

CCOC’s strategic transformation exemplifies the impact of inclusive planning and adaptability in a dynamic environment. The new strategy not only addresses immediate challenges but also paves the way for long-term success, serving as an inspiration for other non-profit organizations navigating similar changes.


In 2023, Manal supported CCOC to create their first new Strategic Plan since 2012. Manal brought a people-first approach to the entire process: she expertly held space for difficult but necessary conversations, deftly supported participants in navigating the necessary uncertainty of a collaborative development process, and introduced key changes with patience and empathy. Manal is a great facilitator: meticulously prepared, ready to adapt when circumstances require it, and dedicated to timely follow-up. Her willingness to gently challenge long-held assumptions and to encourage participants to engage more deeply in understanding each other was also key to the final result: a strategic plan with enthusiastic support from across the organization. Manal’s passion for people, and her passion for enabling people and organizations to deliver on their missions, is clear in every interaction. I would happily work with Manal again any time.

Sarah Button

Sarah ButtonExecutive Director

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