The Redwood Shelter

In 1987, a group of neighbours were united by the same cause: the pressing need for a safe haven for abused women and their children in the Parkdale-High Park community. 

They founded the Parkdale-High Park Rotary Club, and began the hunt for a suitable site for everything they envisioned. In 1991, they were able to secure a rundown former warehouse, and set about the enormous task of transforming the building into a welcoming new home for abused women and their children. 

Similar to an old-fashioned barn-raising, hundreds of volunteers from across the city grabbed their tools and came together. Building materials were donated, and carpenters, plumbers and electricians generously volunteered their services. People from all walks of life participated to help in any way they could. 

Thanks to this incredible community effort, The Redwood welcomed their first family in December 1993. Twenty-five years later, The Redwood has provided crucial emotional, social and practical support that families need to get their lives back on track. The Redwood envisions a world where women and children live free from abuse and all other forms of violence and oppression.  

The Redwood has 12 bedrooms, housing 37 beds in a converted warehouse in Toronto. Residents receive 3 meals a day, hygiene items, bedding, and childcare supplies. Peer support groups, art and play therapy, wellness resources, and parenting classes help women and children to work through trauma. Women are connected with other community supports, including housing support services, referrals to subsidized daycare and school registration, job training, and legal support. Clients stay at the shelter for an average of 114 days and remain in touch with counsellors for a year after leaving.

For many women, the cost of escaping abuse is living in poverty. The Redwood works to connect clients with affordable housing and employment opportunities. In 2018, 160 women attended the Trades and Technology Conference to learn about college programs, trade schools, and union apprenticeships. The Redwood’s Women on the Move Leadership Program coached nine women in public speaking and job skills training.

The Redwood is actively engaged in community outreach within Toronto. It facilitates workshops at local schools, libraries, housing co-ops, and community centres, educating women about abuse, and to create a safety plan when fleeing abusive situations. The 24-hour crisis line provides women in desperate need with counselling. In 2018, 491 women called the crisis line. In 2018, The Redwood sheltered 73 women and 123 children escaping abuse. These clients left a dangerous situation, receiving support and 24-hour protection at The Redwood.

Thank you to all the volunteers at the Redwood Shelter for the amazing work you do for the women and children in our community!

Sahara Desert Trek for Shelter

 

The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs. Every dollar raised goes directly to helping the more than 50,000 women and children who are served each year by the shelters and support programs we fund. Since 1998, the Shelter Foundation has raised over $30 million and currently supports 200 local women’s shelters and national partners. Participating Royal LePage sales representatives and brokers donate a portion of their commissions the foundation, as well,  Royal LePage offices across Canada hold local fundraising events, such as the annual Royal LePage garage sale for shelter where our brokers, agents and staff also volunteer and provide in-kind goods to benefit the women and children residing in their local shelters.

On any given night in Canada, close to 6,000 women and children stay in an emergency shelter because it’s not safe for them to be at home. At the same time, 300 are turned away each night because all the shelters are full. On average, in Canada, women or girls are killed every 2.5 days, most often at the hands of someone they trusted, according to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability at the University of Guelph. Women are victims of intimate partner violence more often and more severely than men, 79% of police reported intimate partner violence is against women and women were victims of intimate partner homicide at a rate four times greater than men.

In 2017 @RLPSupreme won Office of the Year in Ontario. Recognized for it’s fundraising efforts such as our annual Garage Sale for Shelter, Bowling for Shelter, Cruise for Shelter events and commission donations! Every year, through our collective efforts, we raise tens of thousands of dollars which are donated in full to our local shelter, The Redwood. 

In November 2019, an enthusiastic group of (number) Royal LePage professionals journeyed to Morocco to trek 100 km across the Sahara Desert. They traversed over uninterrupting, relentless and unending sand dunes, traversed ancient dry river beds and vast desert plateaus in a hot and arid climate that cooled considerably at night. Trekkers hiked for up to 7 hours a day in single file, uninterrupted by modern day distractions or routines, giving up all comforts and conveniences, in exchange for communal sleeping tents and outdoor bathroom facilities under the stars. 

Each step the trekkers took, and every dollar they raised, will help abused women and children find safety and build lives free from violence. As a whole, Royal LePage was able to raise over $1,000,000, on this event alone! Two of RLPS’ realtors participated in this trek. Sarah Garner and Natalie Quintal collectively raised just under $15,000.00 towards the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, and just as importantly, raised awareness. 

We are super duper proud to have such inspiring leaders working alongside us, here at Royal LePage Supreme, thank you ladies! Bucket list, check!

The importance of negotiation

We’ve all been there- after weeks or maybe even months of searching, your client has found “the one” and it’s time to write up an offer. You painstakingly craft a clean, well-researched, well-intended offer. Then you respectfully submit to the listing agent and wait for a response.

While you wait, all sorts of scenarios play out in your head… Maybe the Seller will accept it as written. Or maybe there will be a simple counter-offer, an easy one for your Buyer to accept. Maybe… wait, you were supposed to have gotten a response by 5 pm and it’s 6:30 pm. Or perhaps you’re on the other end – you receive the well-written offer on your listing and happily send back an accepted offer to crickets. So you follow up with a call – only to get the dreaded “this voicemail is full” recording. And so it begins – the all too common deal with a difficult cross-agent. But why is it this way, and why do we set or tolerate these standards?

Clients hire a professional realtor for many reasons, but one very basic and essential one stands out…NEGOTIATE on behalf of a client.

Often times, negotiations break down because respective representatives can’t or won’t negotiate, or communicate effectively enough to get the deal done on behalf of both the buyer and the seller. Agents stubbornly butt heads and create conflict which essentially stalls effective communications, leading to a break down and a failed purchase and sale attempt and unhappy clients.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy or simple solution to this dilemma. You want to (actually, NEED to) do the best job possible and get the best results for your client, it will all boil down to a few basics:

  • Communicate: Just because you don’t hear back doesn’t mean your communications aren’t being received. Often, agents may quickly read an email or text and believe there’s no action needed on their part. You must follow up. And you must do it often and repeatedly until you get some response or acknowledgment.
  • Document: Make sure you are documenting everything. The number of attempts, responses, and items omitted from responses. Should push come to shove on any single point, make sure you’ve documented your calm, persistent, attempts.
  • Overcompensate: It’s not unusual for a lender, the title company, and even the other agent’s clients to reach out to you for an answer to something that is clearly the other agent’s responsibility. It’s just what you have to do to get your client over the finish line. So do it for them.
  • Know when to escalate: Make sure you know when it’s appropriate to go to the other agent’s broker. It might not make you popular with the cross-agent, but the goal is to look out for your own client’s interests.

When the day is done, the real key to knowing how to manage a deal with a difficult agent is remembering why you’re in this business. Go hard, negotiate fairly, honestly and with your clients best interests in mind, but do this with respect, professional courtesy to and a touch of empathy towards your fellow realtor, being mindful that this was likely the primary reason you were hired in the first place.