Kitchener-Waterloo – As the third wave of the pandemic continues to put pressure on the province’s already stretched shelter system, the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) is supporting the House of Friendship by providing $10,413 in funding to assist with service continuity. This funding is part of the Ontario Real Estate Association’s (OREA) $520,000 donation to Ontario shelters and food banks, which is on top of the $480,000 donation made one year ago. The funds are being distributed to nearly 100 shelters and food banks across Ontario.
“It is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable populations, both in our community and around the world. Realtors in Kitchener-Waterloo understand that homelessness and affordable housing are major issues facing us in the Waterloo Region and we are pleased to provide this financial support to The House of Friendship,” said Nicole Pohl, President of KWAR.
Margaret Lucas, Development Director of House of Friendship says, “The men staying at our shelter had a super difficult year. They have experienced being displaced to three locations in just twelve months, being removed from their often-fragile networks and few personal possessions, losing friends to overdoses, and living through a COVID outbreak. On top of being highly unwell, that’s a lot to carry.”
House of Friendship faced the additional challenge from an unfortunate fire that occurred back in February of this year. At the time, there were 130 individuals staying at the Inn of Waterloo and calling it home. Fortunately, with support from the community, these individuals were able to be relocated to a hotel in Guelph.
“That’s why Kitchener Waterloo Association of Realtors’ gift matters so much,” says Lucas. “They are giving these men the gift of a safe place to sleep and heal, including wrap-around healthcare and housing supports through our ShelterCare model. The great news in all of this is that over 30 men who were staying with us have been housed since our shelter fire in February, and over 77% of this at-risk group have now been vaccinated.”
All charities receiving funding are listed on RealHeart.ca, a recently launched initiative with a mission to support Ontario Realtors in their work to build stronger communities across Ontario. In 2020 alone, the Foundation raised more than $1.1 million for shelter-based organizations. Today’s donation is part of OREA’s and ORCF’s longstanding commitment to helping families in need of emergency and permanent housing.
To make a donation to the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation, go to www.RealtorsCareOntario.ca.
KWAR is also expanding its reach to local charities this year through its annual REALTOR Run to raise funds for the House of Friendship, Indwell, Lutherwood, and A Better Tent City.
To find out how you can participate in the REALTOR Run contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation
The Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation, formerly the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Foundation was established in 1967. The Foundation supports shelter-based charitable organizations across Ontario, making a difference in the lives of people and communities where REALTORS® live and conduct business.
About the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS®
The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) is a member-focused not-for-profit association representing over 1,600 local REALTOR® members. The association was formed in 1937 and continues to provide a robust Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System, continuing education, and related services to its members. The term REALTOR® is a trademark identifying members in good standing of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) who provide real estate brokerage services in compliance with CREA’s By-Laws and Rules, the REALTOR® Code, and in compliance with all applicable federal and provincial laws and regulations.