A Home for the Brave: LCF Invests in Second Italian Seniors' Project Building

Mar. 18, 2019

Residenza Italia, built and run by the Italian Seniors’ Project (ISP), is a seniors’ apartment building that has been operating for 8 years. In addition to the Italian Senior's Project standing outside their Residenza Italiaaffordable rent it offers its tenants, Residenza Italia was designed to foster a sense of community and to alleviate the loneliness that often comes later in life.

“Anybody can build a square block, fill it with people and close the door,” says Claudio De Vincenzo, Italian Seniors Project board member. “We’re trying to build communities.”

This philosophy is carrying over to ISP’s next undertaking: Residenza Ortona.

While this building, located across the street from Residenza Italia, will be open to everyone, a portion of it will be focused on one demographic in particular; our veterans.

“Veterans are overrepresented in the homeless population,” says Claudio. “Some of them are not aware how to access the types of money and support they are entitled to receive through Veteran’s Affairs.”

Working together with the Royal Canadian Legion in London, the ISP has agreed to set aside  10 apartments designated for veteran use as well as a dedicated veteran’s common area.

“It’s difficult for them to adjust to life outside the military,” says Claudio. “We’re hoping that by giving them an affordable place to live and build a community, they’ll be able to stabilize themselves and live comfortably.”

This building will not only help support London’s present-day veteran population, but honour the Canadians who gave their life in battle in the past.

In December of 1943, Canadian troops were dispatched to liberate the fishing town of Ortona, on the east coast of Italy. In an unfamiliar setting against an experienced and battle-hardened German force, the Canadian 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade fought for 8 days, finally liberating the town from the Germans on December 28. Many Canadians gave their lives that day, a testament to the strength and resilience of our troops, and Residenza Ortona was named in honour of their sacrifice.

This project resonated with the Foundation, and when ISP approached LCF with the investment opportunity, the Foundation was ready to help.

“If you go to a bank asking to borrow money to buy some land that won’t be generating income for a couple of years, they’ll look at it as a bad investment,” says Claudio. “We pitched our idea to LCF and they saw our vision, and believed in it. We’re really happy with the partnership we’ve made with them.”

LCF’s Social Impact Fund uses a portion of the Foundation’s assets as investment capital, investing in projects that are not only capable of paying back the loan and providing a return, but that generate positive change in the community. In 2016, LCF loaned the Italian Seniors Project the money to purchase the land for their new building, a loan that will be paid off in November 2019. More recently, ISP applied for additional financing with LCF to help cover construction costs on the new building. This additional financing will be secured by a second mortgage against Residenza Italia.

Investing in social enterprise and affordable housing to maximize the impact LCF’s assets have on the community is just one example of the bold direction the Foundation is taking with its Social Impact Fund. Click here If you’d like to learn more about the Social Impact Fund and how LCF is investing in social good.

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