WINNIPEG SUPPORTIVE HOUSING INC.
The four founding directors of Winnipeg Supportive Housing Inc. are: Don Kroeker, retired businessman; Peter Hargraves, architect; John David Pankratz, project coordinator; and Eileen Kroeker, community activist.
In the spring of 2017 Don Kroeker articulated a desire to build an affordable sober-living housing facility in Winnipeg, a vision quickly adopted by his friend Peter Hargraves of Sputnik Architecture, who had spent nine months living in a homeless community while attending his first year of architecture studies.
In late 2017 John David Pankratz approached Don, expressing interest in involvement as he transitioned out of international development program management into addressing homelessness in Winnipeg.
Eileen Kroeker formally became a part of the project a few months after that, and these four formed Winnipeg Supportive Housing Inc., which was incorporated on May 2 of 2018.
RIVERWOOD CHURCH COMMUNITY
Riverwood Church Community has a strong and active presence in the community of Elmwood,
re-purposing buildings that include the Firehall, The Factory, The Warehouse and The Garage, each providing specific services, and all within three blocks of each other. Riverwood operates multiple weekend services with weekly attendance averaging close to 1500. Riverwood also has a high level of engagement in supportive programming to the local neighbourhood with more than 30,000 engagements annually serving the vulnerable population within the community.
These factors made a partnership between Riverwood and WSHI a natural fit. Riverwood is driven by more than a desire to simply carry a postal code in a community, but to have a tangible impact in resourcing and supporting the most vulnerable within it. WSHI needed an ally that would provide programming and operational support to a new housing project that fills an important gap in the supportive housing market.
Since moving to the neighbourhood in 1999, Riverwood has worked strategically to understand and respond to the core needs in the surrounding area. They have grown to offer a wide variety
of programs responding to food insecurity and poverty, including drop-ins, cooking courses, shared community meals, and food banks. It also includes programming for women, addressing those impacted by domestic violence and addictions, and providing support groups for at-risk moms and adolescent girls. Riverwood engages in a high level of collaboration with neighbourhood agencies and organizations and has strong partnerships throughout the Elmwood community.
More recently, Riverwood has developed a formal partnership with Finding Freedom, a program dealing with addictions through addressing the underlying causes of addiction (complex-trauma). This program includes weekly support meetings, counseling, and a daytime treatment program called RE:ACT.