This is a guest post by Jennifer van Gennip, Redwood's Director of Communications and our representative at the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness (SCATEH).
As we get closer and closer to opening the doors on our motel conversion, a project in partnership with the David Busby Centre, some of our support community may be wondering what a "Housing First" community is all about, and how a person might qualify to live at Lucy's Place.
If there's one thing that we do well at Redwood (Ok, we do lots of things well, but this one is the most important) it's community.
So when it was time to host a night to raise funds for our Hope through Housing capital campaign, we made it a community affair. Like a neighbourhood barbecue...if your neighbourhood is all of Barrie.
Not so long ago, I had an uncomfortable but necessary conflict with a friend. She pushed away my attempt to reconcile with her afterward, saying, "I guess my life just isn't all rainbows and unicorns."
I went away with mixed feelings. I felt like she was trying to get a dig in there, trying to tell me that I was out of touch and privileged. For one, my life definitely hasn't always been wonderful. I've had my own private struggles and hardships. But then I started thinking about rainbows and unicorns and I came up with some realizations.
Today, for Earth Day, we have an insightful guest post by 17 year old Elijah Kent, a multi-talented scholar, athlete, and musician and all-around good guy. If you recognize his last name, it's because he's Tim and Rhonda's eldest son.
Last year, my school took a day in the spring to go out into the city and pick up trash in the downtown area. We cleaned parks, sidewalks, gardens, and parking lots; collected cigarette butts, beer cans, wrappers, old McDonald’s coffee cups, and all other manner of waste (some that one hopes never to encounter)! While we were in one of the downtown parks, I noticed a large, middle-aged woman sitting on a park bench. This woman had clearly experienced devastating loss that had left her in a state of hopelessness. She was, as we say, homeless.
Now, the thing about homelessness is that it is a societal issue that ranks right up there with gender and race inequality and world hunger. Some of the world’s most brilliant minds and compassionate hearts have worked tirelessly to completely eliminate the issue of homelessness but to date, have fallen short. But, I believe that this is because homelessness is not actually the problem, but rather the symptom of a much deeper problem: lack of community.