It's hard to believe, but one year ago today, May 6 2019, was move in day for the first residents of Lucy's Place. After months and months of renovation, our Housing First Community, a first for Simcoe County, was ready!
A partnership with the David Busby Street Centre, this project was made possible with Home For Good Funding from the Province of Ontario, along with funding and support from the County of Simcoe, the City of Barrie, and a multitude of tradespeople, donors, and volunteers from throughout the community.
The folks that live at Lucy's Place had been experiencing extreme chronic homelessness, some living outside for 4 years, 12 years, and even 20 years.
Rhonda is Redwood's lead on-site at Lucy's Place to provide support. She shared these words to mark this special day:
We enjoyed the summer in the new space, making due while the last of the construction wrapped up. Fall came and the amazing landscaping was finished. We realized how beautiful our corner of Barrie was as the leaves changed colours, and everyone pitched in to clean up when they all fell! We celebrated Christmas with a tree and all the trimmings, turkey dinner cooked by some of the folks, stockings, and the most beautiful Christmas lights lovingly hung by a dear friend. Winter came, and 19 folks who have spent the last several winters outside spent this one in safe, affordable, hopeful homes and a strong community of support. We lost two dear friends, and celebrated a wedding.
These are some of the facts and figures about our first year together, but numbers just can’t capture what I love about Lucy’s.
When I pull in, one friend in particular, sitting outside his unit, always greets me with a smile and a wave. Another friend has a laugh so large and infectious it can raise anyone's spirits.
There’s always something baking in the oven at the little house, and it makes it’s way over to be shared at the community space. Yahtzee games, jigsaw puzzles, barbecues, and so much coffee!
Friends who leave early in the morning for work stop by the office to say hi on their way home in the afternoon. I have a bunch of new nicknames, too, thanks to my new friends. These are just a few of the beautiful things about life around Lucy’s.
It’s been tough these past 7 weeks. Social distancing is so hard. “Community meals” aren’t the same when taken back to individual units to be eaten. But this amazing group of individuals has taught me so much about true community, about caring for each other and having each other’s backs. And you know, masks cover smiles but not smiling eyes. We’ll get through this together.
It's been a full year for sure, and we are just honoured to be part of this community. Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. Here's to many more years together at Lucy's Place, and to more housing projects like it to address the need in our city.