Cornerstone Housing for Women Completes Adaptive Reuse Project

Written by Hadiya Al-Idrissi

April 23, 2019

At the end of November 2018, 42 women moved into Cornerstone Housing for Women’s new residence, in the renovated Institut Jeanne d’Arc building in Westboro. The project was an adaptive reuse of the former convent into supportive rental housing for women. The project was also initiated in 2016 with a feasibility report and winning Action Ottawa (AO) proposal, and project management services all provided by Cahdco. This also marked the first completed project by Cynthia as Project Manager, and myself as Development Project Coordinator here at Cahdco.

I started at Cahdco at the end of 2017, when the Princeton project was just beginning the renovation. Fresh from my architecture undergrad, I was eager to see how what I had learned in school played out in the real world. I remember attending my first site meeting with Cynthia, in one of the gutted rooms of the former convent, taking in the exposed framework, smell of cement and muted music of the active construction site. I have to admit, it was intimidating yet inspirational to be sitting in the room of professional consultants and the client, observing the relationships between all parties and trying to follow the jargon and acronyms associated with the formal processes of construction. It was the kind of stuff they don’t teach you in school.


Flash forward to the Fall of 2018, I felt like I knew the Princeton project inside and out. Through every meeting, email and phone call, there was a lesson learned, best practice noted, and story to remember. I learned how with a great project team, engaged client, open communication, and like-minded people striving towards the same goal of good, there was no setback this project couldn’t handle.

Cahdco toured the finished building right before occupancy in November. It confirmed for me that every day-to-day task (Change Order tracking!) really did add up to more than the sum of its parts. Walking around the building, we saw the donated handmade quilts that covered the beds, and fully stocked kitchens and bathrooms ready to welcome 42 women home.

Hadiya Al-Idrissi

Development Project Coordinator

April 23, 2019