Canada: Tenants Enjoy Life Without Labels
November 18, 2009
A 112-unit complex on Sherbourne Street is the first in Toronto to be built to meet the housing needs of two unrelated groups: senior citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS.
"It's not about creating little boxes with labels on them, saying that if you have this particular need, you have to go in this particular box," said Michael Shapcott, director of affordable housing at the Wellesley Institute. Though all three levels of government helped fund the development of the Wellesley Central Residence, the institute put up the most money.
Working with the Wellesley Institute were WoodGreen Community Services, a social service provider for low-income seniors, and Fife House, which provides housing assistance for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Half the building's apartments are occupied by seniors, and the rest are home to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The residents share a rooftop garden. The building's transitional component offers temporary housing to persons with HIV/AIDS coming directly from the streets or from homeless shelters.
"Everything in my life had fallen apart before I came here," said resident John Kerry, who had become ill and lost his job. The building, he said, "is geared for everyone, no matter who you are and what issues you have."
While there were initially some concerns about how the two groups of residents would get along, these have proved unfounded. One senior resident, Dorothy Luff, said she "likes the company" and often interacts with her younger neighbors.
"I'd like to essentially photocopy that building and replicate it in many parts of the city," said Sean Gadon, Toronto's director of affordable housing.
11.16.2009; Noor Javed
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.