Italian Senior's Project: Fostering a Sense of Community

Sep. 27, 2017

Thanks to a loan from London Community Foundation’s Loan Fund, the Italian Senior’s Project will embark on its second affordable housing project that aims to provide a sense of belonging to all residents.

There was something about the 1109 Hamilton Road apartment building that captured Mary Manning’s attention the first time she drove by.

“I had a feeling that this was the one, this was my new home,” she exclaims. “It had a unique look to it.” It was then and there that she decided to take a leap of faith and add her name to the waiting list for a unit. This turned out to be one of the best decisions Mary has made.

In addition to the striking architecture, beautiful walking paths, gardens, and indoor amenities, there’s something special about Residenza Italia that sets it apart from other affordable housing units - a sense of community.

Residenza Italia is an affordable housing unit that was conceived by the Italian Senior’s Project, a registered charity created in response to the need for affordable housing for seniors in a culturally sensitive environment.

The 52 unit Residenza Italia has been fully occupied since it opened its doors in 2011. The building, which became an award-winning design by Nicholson Sheffield Architects, has had a significant positive impact on the lives of seniors in the London area. That’s because Residenza Italia is more than just affordable housing, it’s about building community and a sense of belonging.

“It gives me piece of mind knowing that people look out for you here,” says Mary. “You don’t get that in other places. You never feel alone. There’s a real sense of community.”

Without places like Residenza Italia, seniors may find themselves isolated, living alone or in long-term care facilities. This affordable housing unit provides seniors with limited income another option that allows them to thrive in a supportive, community environment.

“We believe in affordable housing; we saw a need for affordable housing, and the need can be seen through the ageing demographics and number of seniors waiting for quality affordable housing,” says Carla Garagozzo, Board Chair, Italian Senior’s Project.

Thanks to a loan from London Community Foundation, a second unit across the street will be built. However, this time the new 62 unit building will welcome individuals and families of all ages. Additionally, the board hopes to set aside a number of units to support local veterans in need of housing.

Due to the success of the first project and the identified need for affordable housing, this new Hamilton Road unit will bring the benefits of Residenza Italia to the general population.

Carla believes the impact Residenza Italia has on people’s lives is a reward you cannot buy.

“Knowing that you’re improving people’s lives is an incredible feeling. To know these people are in a place where they are happy and have a community of people who care about them makes all the hard work worth it.”