Riverwood House is a project of Riverwood Church in partnership with Winnipeg Supportive Housing Inc to offer a supportive housing solution for individuals experiencing unstable housing and/or recovery, whose path to stability requires a substance-free environment. We are seeking to offer an innovative approach to filling this housing gap through a facility that provides abstinence-based housing in a community context with strategic supportive services on-site.
Riverwood House will seek to provide a stable and supportive housing context that provides its participants with an approach to recovery that is empowering, accountable, and resilient. The goal for each participant is to help them become stable tenants that can achieve long-term housing, sobriety, and a fulfilling lifestyle through a self-directed process with the necessary supportive resources. While recognizing that the need for accountability and a safe environment are critical to achieving these goals, we will also seek to operate in a manner that prevents co-dependency and helps to empower its participants towards non-institutionalized living.
Another key strength of Riverwood House will be the connection with existing supportive programming offered by Riverwood Church in the Elmwood community. This includes supports such as a food bank, community drop-in, shared meals, cooking classes, and support groups for women and men.
Our integration with these programs will include using them as supportive services as well as providing an opportunity for participants to contribute to their local neighbourhood through volunteering. Riverwood will operate an intake process that will comprehensively assess the supportive requirements of each applicant to determine their suitability to this housing context and to ensure that we can adequately provide the necessary supports. We will establish a risk-based scale to score each applicant and utilize this to develop our application approval guidelines.
Based on the level of supportive services Riverwood House will be able to provide, we will develop a balanced approach to filling our units with applicants from a spectrum on the risk-based score, ensuring that the make-up of the overall tenancy will be healthy and that our services will be adequate to support the safety and success of the community. A selection committee will oversee the intake process in a fair and non-biased manner with a preference to referrals from developed partnerships. Each successful applicant will work with the Riverwood House staff to create a personal plan that will become the goal to which they will work towards during their participation at Riverwood House. It is critical that the personal plan is one that is both created and owned by the individual and that they welcome the supportive context to help them achieve this. This supportive context includes fellow program participants, Riverwood House staff, and the larger community surrounding the project.
Our approach to supportive housing is one that recognizes and utilizes the assets of fellow participants, of the staff, and of the surrounding community to participate in all aspects of recovery and support. This model would create an expectation for each participant to consider their role in the development of community and responsibility towards one another’s success. An important role of the Riverwood House staff will be to help recognize, develop, and empower the individual skills and assets of each participant towards the success of the community. We will also look to our surrounding local neighbourhood and to the volunteer community of Riverwood Church to contribute to the health and recovery of the Riverwood House community. This can include partnerships with community supportive services, mentorship, skill-training and development, support groups, and social supports.
One of the key strengths of Riverwood House will be an integrated partnership with Finding Freedom. Finding Freedom is a recovery program which operates on the premise that drug/alcohol addiction and other harmful habits are serious problems, but they are, more accurately, symptoms of even deeper problems (Complex Trauma). Through both weekly support groups and a 3-phase immersive treatment program (RE-ACT), Finding Freedom seeks to address the root issues of complex trauma as the key to overcoming addiction and to experience longterm recovery. Finding Freedom will be a critical asset to the success of Riverwood House and we will utilize the expertise, experience, and supports of this program to become an ongoing resource for its participants
The Riverwood House staff will also work with each participant to create an eviction prevention plan as a proactive approach to achieving stable housing. While certain serious actions will be grounds for immediate evictions, the over-arching approach will be one that seeks to avoid eviction with every effort possible and provide a resilient environment that recognizes the inherent risks of recovery.
While Riverwood House will operate as a transitional housing complex, we will not require participants to exit after a pre-determined period of time. We recognize that the timeline for recovery and the need for ongoing support and housing will vary for each individual and will structure our program to encourage a natural movement from supportive housing to a healthy alternative. This will include those that reach a level of stability in which they desire to transition
to full independent living, those whose life situation shifts where bachelor suites can no longer accommodate their needs, those who reach a level of income that would make them ineligible for the subsidized units, those whose supportive needs exceed the level of support we can adequately provide, and those who decide that this facility is no longer desirable for themselves.The approach of Riverwood House in each of these situations will be to help successfully transition the participants into an appropriate housing alternative and ensure that their housing stability is maintained.
On an operational basis, Riverwood House will look to create a context of shared community between residents, staff, the broader Riverwood programming and the local neighbourhood, recognizing this a critical component of recovery and housing stability. We will also look to provide a supportive context that encourages each participant to take the lead role in their path to health and recovery. The end goal is to empower individuals to make healthy lifestyle changes, develop community, move towards their self-established goals, and develop their skills to become both stable and independent.