Harvest House Ministries was founded on December 1, 1979 by three Christian businessmen, who recognized the need to provide a Christ-centered home for young men struggling with addiction to alcohol and drugs. Carrying on this vision, the mission of Harvest House is:
To rehabilitate young men who are chemically dependent, to instill in them self-discipline, and to reintegrate them into society by an inner change brought about by faith in Jesus Christ.
The first house was an 8-bed residence located on Belmont Avenue in Ottawa South. Harvest House began with only an Executive Director and two senior residents – all working on a volunteer basis. This strong tradition of volunteering continues, with volunteers coming in to teach courses, contribute as board members, and assist with fundraising events. Many Harvest House graduates remain embedded in the community by volunteering and offering support to newer residents.
In 1980, Harvest House moved to a more rural setting located on River Road, where the program was able to begin housing 24 residents. The distance from the city provided by this location removed a great part of the temptation that residents face to return to the street and their former ways of life. In 1985, Harvest House started the Re-Entry program, which was designed to provide graduates with housing and a continued support system.
Harvest House was founded with the goal of preparing residents to re-enter society – a task that requires more than addiction treatment alone. Skills development has always been a significant part of achieving this goal. Initially started as a wood-working shop in an adjacent farmhouse, the Skills Development program was formalized in 1992 and now includes activities such as salesmanship, meal preparation, carpentry, and administrative work.
In 2000, Harvest House moved to its current location on Ramsayville Road in the greenbelt of Ottawa South, where it continues to serve young men between the ages of 16 and 30 who struggle with addictions. Men from all walks of life, including those with histories of relapse, criminal activity, and imprisonment, are welcomed into the program. What began as a small home for eight men on Belmont Avenue has grown to include a 24-bed main facility and an additional 4 re-entry houses. Over this time, Harvest House has maintained its purpose of providing men addicted to drugs and alcohol with an opportunity to turn their lives around.