#HotCocoaTrail, Hockey Helps the Homeless, our capital project update, and more!
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Well, we made it through January friends, which is no small thing.

December and January were very busy around United House. As usual, we received many calls with offers to help out at Christmas.

It is our practice not to duplicate services already offered in our city/county/province, but rather to connect people with those services. Our families are all supported through the Women and Children’s Shelter’s Winter Sponsorship Program, so Christmas gifts were covered. But there were several other ways the fabulous people of our city helped out!

The kind and generous folks at The Creative Space on Dunlop Street sent us 2 turkeys which we cooked for our family Christmas dinner. Our new friends at Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit also provided 2 turkeys which we cooked to share with our neighbours, along with overflowing Christmas stockings provided by the kids at Vox Alliance Church, and Tim Hortons giftcards donated by both The Creative Space and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. It was a real community effort! Thanks to all who helped out to make Christmas extra special for our families, and provided the tools for them to be able to give to others this season as well.

In December we were approached by Kreative Dance Company about a scholarship opportunity for our little friends at Redwood Park Communities. This semester, our first scholarship recipient began dance classes, and it turned out to be the perfect opportunity at just the right moment!

December also saw the presentation of a cheque for $10,000 from the Barrie & District Association of REALTORS (BDAR) at their General Members Meeting. Rob Alexander, BDAR President, said “as an organization, BDAR will be focusing on affordable housing and helping first‐time buyers understand how to get on the housing ladder. As part of this, BDAR is supporting Redwood Park Communities, a local organization who provides safe, affordable housing to vulnerable members of our community.”

We are very grateful to receive these funds, which will support United House and help grow our Second Suites program.
We were also invited to present at the Guys That Give December event.

Rhonda shares about that experience:

"I was overwhelmed with excitement at the opportunity, and then with anxiety at the thought of fitting our whole story into a five minute presentation with $10,000 riding on it! However, as soon as I walked in the room anxieties faded away with the warm welcome of ‘The Guys’, as well as the familiar faces of our community partners CMHA and The Barrie Food Bank. I immediately realized that no matter who was awarded the money that evening, our families at Redwood Park Communities would benefit. (But I was very thankful when Redwood Park Communities won!)

I love the Guys That Give model. 100 guys. $100 each. One local organization receives a $10000 donation! I love that each of person gives a small amount, but that put together, it has a huge impact. Right here in our city. I love that they come together as a community to make that difference.

But most of all, I can’t help but think that for many of our women, it was mistreatment by one man that brought them to us. But it is the kindness and generosity of one hundred men that will help them journey forward! How powerful is that?"
Meanwhile, in the office...
Hanging out in the community space at United House will give you the feels, every time, but there is lots of important work going on behind the scenes as well to expand our reach further into our community and help create more supported housing opportunities for those who need them. Here are a few updates on that work:

Our project to build supported housing for familes, in partnership with Salvation Army
  • The land lease at Lillian Cres. has been finalized and will be signed in the coming days.
  • The Capital Campaign is being developed and will kick off in March.
  • The site plan pre-consultation has been completed with the city's planning department.
  • The site plan application will be submitted for approval in early March.
  • Site servicing to begin in June.
  • Building construction projected to begin Sepember 2017.
Second Suites
  • We received 3 new requests to build second suites in January.
  • The article in the Barrie Examiner last week is generating interest, too.
  • Are you interested in learning more about putting a second suite in your home? Tim and Brandon would be happy to talk to you about it, you can email them here.
On the Blog
If you aren't following along on our blog already, I encourage you to check it out to read some perspectives on life in community, and what that looks like at Redwood, from Erin Hatton, one of our family support volunteers. 
Hockey Helps the Homeless Barrie
The third-annual Hockey Helps the Homeless Fundraising Tournament is just around the corner!

On Friday, March the 3rd, ten teams of players will suit up to play with former NHL pros like Mike Gartner, Adam May, and Kris King, all to raise money for the Busby Street Centre and Redwood Park Communities. The tournament runs from 8:00AM to 5:00PM, and spectators are more than welcome.

If you would like to donate to a participant in the tournament to support this worthy cause you can do so here: Sponsor a participant.
Aaaand, who doesn't like hot cocoa, right?
Barrie's #HotCocoaTrail is on, and Redwood is this year's beneficiary. Twelve hot cocoa flavours at local restaurants across the downtown, every week-end in February, and the $5 cost of each trail pass is donated directly to Redwood. Support local and Redwood at the same time, while sipping delicious hot cocoas. Win-win-win. Learn more here.
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