Building homes for those in need

Redwood Park Communities is supporting The Salvation Army in finding suitable temporary housing for the individuals and families who are currently being housed through The Salvation Army’s emergency shelter program, and staying at the Knights Inn Motel, which is slated for demolition this spring.

In 2015, Redwood and The Salvation Army began a partnership to create a long-term solution to replace the motel program. There is a capital campaign underway to fundraise so construction can start.

“Motels are never an ideal housing solution,” says Tim Kent, CEO of Redwood. “Children shouldn’t have to live in a motel — I think that’s something we can all agree on. Yes, that’s been happening in our community because we haven’t had another option. But we do now. The closure of the Knights Inn creates added pressure to get the permanent solution built. That’s something the community can help with.”

Redwood will construct a two-storey building with 12 fully furnished, two bedroom apartments for families in crisis on Salvation Army-owned property. The building will feature a great room, complete with a spacious kitchen and a large stone fireplace. The Salvation Army will be responsible for case management and Redwood will provide day-to-day family support.

Fundraising started for the project in spring 2018. To date, over $800 thousand has been pledged. Redwood needs close to $1.5 million in the bank in order to secure the necessary financing to break ground. The target fundraising amount is $3 million, which will cover construction and family support services.

“Our goal is to start construction spring 2019. If we can do that, we may be able to complete the project by fall 2020,” says Kent. “This is where the community can step in. If you agree safe, supportive housing is what’s needed for local families in crisis, you can make this happen faster simply by making a donation and encouraging others to do the same.”

In the meantime, Redwood is looking at the potential of making some of its existing and/or under-construction apartment space temporarily available for the emergency shelter program.

Another way that property owners can assist with the general needs of the communities affordable housing supply is to create a second suite through Redwood’s Second Suite program,

Through Second Suites, Redwood works with homeowners to renovate existing space in their homes into legal and affordable rental units. Redwood then acts as the tenant and manages the rental of the property on behalf of the homeowner and provides support to the family that rents the space.

“Central to all of our programs is family and individual support, which can look different for different people,” says Rhonda Kent, co-founder of Redwood and director of family support. “We talk a lot about how the opposite of homelessness isn’t just being housed. The opposite of homelessness is community. We’ve learned that having a safe, affordable, hopeful space to call home is an essential start, but having a support network and authentic connection can really make a difference.”

Donations can be made to the capital campaign through Redwood’s website at www.redwoodparkcommunities.com. Simply select ‘Capital Campaign’ from ‘Fund’ dropdown menu on the donation form. More information about Second Suites is also available on the website.

The Salvation Army has been caring for the needs of those less fortunate in Barrie for over 135 years, offering help and hope in a variety of ways to individuals and families.

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