A new housing project in Elmwood is aimed at giving recovering addicts and those experiencing housing instability a safe home.
Riverwood House broke ground on Monday. The 40-unit housing complex set to open between 12-14 months is being spearheaded by the Riverwood Church Community.
"There is no question as we look around in Winnipeg and in our neighbourhood and beyond that addictions and struggling with mental health and homelessness are prominent issues," Pastor Jon Courtney, the project lead, says.
He says the current need for support is much greater than the resources available.
Courtney says since moving into the area, the church has been passionate about helping its community. The pastor says that the church has been watching some amazing housing projects emerge and was dreaming of the ability to do the same.
That dream has turned into reality.
"It was a convergence of two dreams that came together."
He says a nonprofit, Winnipeg Supportive Housing also dreamed of creating supportive housing. The two began talking.
"Their goal was to build and develop this project and not to operate it."
Riverwood says they are up to the task.
Over the past three years, the partners have been developing the new project.
Partnering with other organizations, the new transitional housing will not only offer shelter but also offer support for residents to help them recover and find success while on their own. Courtney says over the next year new staff members will be trained to work with residents.
"It is a project that is going to provide a safe place for people in recovery to live."
The unit will be located next to the church's firehouse location, on the corner of Talbot Avenue and Stadacona Street.
The pastor says Riverwood wants to be a church that "doesn't just exist" and instead responds to community needs. This project is one way they are responding to the needs.
"It is not just a postal code for us. We want to be a place where our neighbourhood feels the impact."
Courtney says people have been generous throughout the entire project and their church community has stepped up to make their housing dream happen.
"As a faith community, we are motivated to be examples of love," Courtney says. "We are driven by this idea that our faith compels us to respond practically to the need. Not just with words, with actions."
He says people need the opportunity to discover their own potential, hoping that their new project can help some do just that.