The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® is continuing its tradition of supporting local shelter-based charities, donating a total of $21,704 to organizations in the regions they serve: Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group (Bracebridge/Huntsville); H.E.R.S Emergency Rural Safe Space Women’s Shelter (Haliburton); Esprit Place Women’s Shelter (Parry Sound); Lighthouse Shelter/Community Kitchen (Orillia); and the United Way (Simcoe Muskoka). The donations were announced during REALTORS Care® Week- a national initiative held November 23 -27. In response to the upheaval of COVID-19, focus of this year’s initiative was homelessness.
“The pandemic has had made difficult lives even harder,” says Chuck Murney, president of the Lakelands Association of REALTOR® Board of Directors. “Our organization believes in supporting the communities in which we work. These donations reflect our organization’s principles about access to safety, food and a roof over your head.”
Several of the charities the association is supporting provide a haven for women and children. Shelter Voices – a recent national survey by Women’s Shelters Canada – has shed some light on women fleeing violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those turning to shelters are reporting more violence that is also increasing in severity.
“It has been a tremendously challenging year for those we serve,” says Kim Dolan, Executive Director, YWCA Peterborough Haliburton. “Now, more than ever, organizations like ours really need this kind of support, from individuals and organizations like The Lakelands Association of Realtors. On behalf of the women and children we support at our Haliburton Emergency Rural Safe Space (HERS) as well as the counselling and support programs at the Women’s Centre, we are deeply grateful for their support.”
Members of the association also attended a virtual conference about homelessness on November 24 as part of REALTORS Care® Week.
“Our profession is about more than buying and selling homes,” says Murney. “It’s about giving back and demonstrating our values in meaningful ways.”