"I feel comfortable here - the minute I walked in. Comfortable right here in my belly."
- United House Resident
- United House Resident
What is United House?
United House provides transitional housing and supports to women leaving the Barrie Women and Children’s Shelter in our 5 renovated, fully furnished apartments. Since opening United House, we have expanded this partnership to offer additional housing options through our Second Suites program.
Usually women who have reached the end of their allotted time at the women’s shelter are still on the wait list for Rent Geared to Income (RGI) housing placements.
This puts them in the position of choosing between housing they cannot afford, homelessness, or returning to abusive partners.
Working closely with the Barrie Women and Children's Shelter, we fill this gap in affordable housing, dramatically increasing the likelihood of our clients transitioning successfully out of abuse. At United House and in our Second Suites apartments, women (and their children, if applicable) can stay for up to one year while they wait for RGI housing to become available.
Who Lives at United House?
Our clients are women who have left abusive relationships and are transitioning out of that environment to life on their own, often with children. Without support, they are at risk of returning to abusive relationships or facing homelessness. Though some have jobs or student loans, most rely on the Ontario Works program for financial assistance, which means as a single woman they receive $384 month to pay for rent, in a city where the average 1 bedroom apartment rents for $950. (Women with children receive slightly more.)
Many have no credit, no job, no bank accounts in their own name, no money management experience, and no sense of their self worth. Most are in their twenties with a child or two but some are older women living alone. Some have made a clean break from their partners, others are actively pursued by their former partners and rely heavily on the security measures put in place at United House. Some need help connecting to Ontario Works, getting their child tax benefits arranged, getting their children registered for school, accessing the Food Bank, writing their resume, applying for jobs, or applying for school themselves.
But everyone has a greater chance at a good life through affordable housing. Everyone can use a reminder that, just as they are, they have worth. And everyone benefits from the community of fellow clients, staff, and volunteers, and talk about their desire to get to a place in their lives where they can be the ones who help others.
Who Pays the Rent?
The majority of our residents have had to leave violent situations and are not initially ready to support themselves, so they are provided for through the Ontario Works (OW) program.
Through OW, the women pay a portion of the market value rent of their apartment.
The Redwood Rent Supplement Program has been created to fill the gap between the actual cost of rent and what our clients are able to contribute.
How Can I Help?
There are a number of ways to contribute to the Redwood Rent Supplement Program:
- Become a monthly donor (below). Supplementing the rent of the women and children living at United House is a very tangible way to make a difference in our community.
- One time gifts help, too!
- Consider making a donation yourself, or naming Redwood Park Communities as your charity of choice at your next birthday or anniversary in lieu of gifts. We can help!
- Some employers will match donations made by their employees to charities, or offer grants that employees can apply for on behalf of a charity.
Redwood Rent Supplement Fund
Redwood gratefully acknowledges the financial contributions to United House by:
We are also very grateful for the monthly donors supporting our Redwood Rent Supplement Program since 2014.
Building United House was a true community effort. We are so thankful for the businesses, trades and organizations that offered their products, time, and/or expertise for free or at discounted rates: