The first Christmas in a new home is a special occasion but even more so for CitySquare’s Cottages at Hickory Crossing residents, who might have not had the chance to celebrate the holidays in years past.
“For the majority of our neighbors at the Cottages, this is their first Christmas in their new home. The first Christmas, in a long time or ever, to celebrate with a community and friends,” says Sandra Ostad, CitySquare’s volunteer coordinator.
Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents had the opportunity to first help Cottages residents in January, staging 12 of the new homes with furnishings and basics. They were ready to assist once again this holiday season, donating winter accessories, candy, games, underwear and more items to be given to residents today at CitySquare’s Cookies and Milk holiday party.
“Although we all know Christmas is not about items, the gifts donated from Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents represent much more,” Ostad says. “It means that someone cared. CitySquare strives to fight the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship. By donating, you are a part of building community, creating friendships and breaking the cycle of poverty.”
CitySquare is truly helping break the cycle of poverty through its Cottages program, which includes 50, 400-square-foot homes. The homes are intended to ease chronic homelessness through the “Housing First” concept, which prioritizes permanent housing before other supportive services (mental health, job training, etc.) are provided.
Ostad says among the first 50 residents at the Cottages, 35 continue to reside there.
“The Cottages has been successful at keeping 70 percent of the original residents currently housed while working with them intensively to increase their non-cash benefits, apply and obtain Social Security income, participate in behavioral health groups, and create unity in the community,” she says. “Mostly all residents at the Cottages program participate in supportive services, even though they are not required to do so.”
If you missed the opportunity to donate for this year’s gifts, Ostad says there is always more to do. Every effort counts, including writing and addressing thank you cards to CitySquare’s benefactors, which Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agent Valerie Caddell of the Heather Guild Group participated in last week.
Ostad says there may be volunteer opportunities next year in the Cottage’s new community garden and sorting through donations.
Find out more about CitySquare at citysquare.org.