From Global News–Foster parents Jamie and Kevin Pfau have set out to help address housing affordability issues in Winnipeg for kids who are too old for foster care and survivors of domestic violence.
Systemic racism and oppression in Manitoba planted the seed, but a cancer diagnosis fast-tracked the growth of an idea into a full-blown passion project.
“When our two oldest boys were aging out of care, and there were really limited options for them to go into safe and affordable housing,” Jamie Pfau said. “We thought then that wow, somebody really needs to create an opportunity for young kids who are aging out of care.”
The couple has five children, fostering for the last 10 years.
Growing up in small towns, Jamie said she and her husband weren’t exposed to the bias and hardships many Manitobans face until they brought in their children.
“Our eyes were opened wide, and we recognized the systems and the issues within the systems,” said Jamie.
Becoming vulnerable to the pain and experiences of the children they were raising is what Jamie said made them want to work toward a resolution.
“I was compelled to go back to school,” Jamie said. “I got my psychology honours degree and then I went right into graduate school, and I’m about to graduate with my masters of social work.”
Kevin has been working towards his bachelors of social work simultaneously and the couple ended up working on a research team together on the topic of domestic violence, which lead to another realization.
“With that we thought about our affordable housing initiative and thought those two populations are so under served,” Jamie said.
The Pfaus bought two condos to rent to youth aging out of foster care, and to survivors of domestic violence.
In addition to the purchase, Jamie and Kevin fully furnished both dwellings with help from their community.
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