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Former Ottawa mayor Jim Watson joins community housing board

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson gestures as he responds to a question at the Public Order Emergency Commission, Tuesday, Oct.18, 2022 in Ottawa. Watson has joined the Ottawa Community Housing foundation’s board of directors, the non-profit organization announced Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Former Ottawa mayor Jim Watson is now a member of the Ottawa Community Housing foundation’s board of directors, the non-profit organization announced Tuesday.

“Jim Watson has a passion for community organizations and he’s been a longtime supporter of those working in the housing and homelessness sector,” said Angela Begin, the foundation’s executive director.

Begin said Watson brings a wealth of experience and an understanding of the community’s needs.

This is the first non-profit board he has joined since he stepped away from politics. The position is unpaid.

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Watson will volunteer to support charitable programming in education, employment and youth engagement for Ottawa Community Housing, Begin said.

“Most of our programs have more than doubled in the past years as we try to respond to the immediate and emerging needs of tenants living in OCH communities,” she said.

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“I believe that with allies such as our former mayor we can continue to extend the reach of our programs.”

Begin added that Watson was already involved in the foundation’s initiatives when he was mayor.

Watson left office last year, after his 12-year term made him the city’s longest-serving mayor.

The need for affordable housing in the city became a central theme of the campaign to replace him.

Ottawa Community Housing is the city’s largest social housing provider, and the second-largest in Ontario, with around 32,000 tenants.

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