Community safety and well-being in the Glebe

By Dan Chook Reid


This past summer, I found myself in a very awkward situation. I was in a Glebe café when a patron began to yell loudly. It was not clear who they were addressing. However, it was clear that this person struggles with mental health. I noticed fellow customers glancing at each other, what should we do? I immediately felt compassion for the baristas. I imagine that they are not trained for this type of scenario. The individual continued to cry out to no one in particular, louder and louder. Someone went over and asked them to be quiet. It didn’t work. The individual yelled even more.

I was in the middle of writing, and I am ashamed to say that I simply finished my coffee and went to another establishment nearby to finish my work. Afterwards I felt bad. I realized that although I like to advocate for people experiencing mental health or homelessness, I often do it from the comfort of my beautiful Glebe home. I did not know what to do in this situation.

What about you? If a loved one were to experience a mental health crisis, do you know what to do?

If a person who is sleeping rough starts to sleep near your house ,would you feel comfortable walking the streets at night? Would you know what to do?

If you see a needle in a park, do you know who to call and what resources are available?

If you hear of bike or car theft on your street, do you know how to report it to the police?

These are all scenarios that people in our neighourhood are currently facing. Many of us have personal stories or know stories that reflect these different scenarios.

The Glebe Community Association (GCA), Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG) and Glebe Business Improvement Area (BIA) is asking an important question: What can we do to address the issues of substance abuse, mental health, homelessness and crime in our neighbourhood?

One of our initiatives is to develop a “Who to Call” page that can be a centralized resource for business owners and community members.  This resource is available on the GCA website and will be displayed in the community centre and different Glebe businesses. We aim to make it possible for the community to know how to find resources quickly when they need them.

In addition, this spring we are hosting the Glebe’s first Community Safety Forum on May 2 at the Glebe Community Centre from 7 to 9 p.m. We will have a panel featuring our community police officer and our elected officials so that the neighbourhood can hear what resources are available in the city and have an opportunity to ask questions and share concerns. In addition, Ottawa Public Health will set up a table and share their amazing resources.

We encourage you to spread the word and come to this event. If you have any concerns regarding a lack of resources for mental health, access to affordable housing or increases in theft, it is important to come to show our city that we care about these issues and long for better solutions.

Help us prepare for this event by emailing your questions or concerns to:

In addition, it is our hope that this kind of event may create some potential for organic community initiatives where neighbours who want to make a difference can find ways to practically make a difference, for example, by setting up Neighbourhood Watch on their street.

Register online using our eventbrite. or scan the QR code on our poster.

As a parent of young children, I know that these conversations are very important. Many of my friends with teenagers and young adult children are navigating mental health challenges. I want to be better equipped to be a caring and compassionate individual who knows how to help our society’s most vulnerable. Though I hope it is never the case, I need to be ready in case these issues surface on my own doorstep.


Dan Chook Reid loves living and working in the Glebe. He has served with the Glebe Community Association for almost a decade. When he is not advocating for affordable housing, he can be found driving his two sons to hockey rinks, writing in Glebe cafés and biking along the canal.

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