Question: When is Housing not about housing?
Answer: When it’s about community.
Two years ago when H.O.M.E. decided through its strategic planning process to expand its signature intergenerational housing model – in which seniors, young adults, and families live together side by side or family-style – to the South or West Sides of Chicago, we weren’t just thinking about adding to the City’s much needed affordable housing stock.
We were thinking about forging new opportunities for building community.
We were thinking first and foremost about fostering social connections for our most isolated and vulnerable seniors in those neighborhoods, hundreds of whom we have served over the years through our home Upkeep & Repair program.
We were thinking about young people yearning for a chance to find their sea-legs and trusted mentors in a challenging adult world while not having to worry about the rent or their next meal.
And we were thinking about families who want to raise their children in a multi-generational, welcoming community rather than behind a white picket fence.
We want to provide regular rental apartments along with more the self-contained Good Life intergenerational family-style housing. We are open to adaptive reuse of an existing building or new construction.
We want the coziness of our Pat Crowley House with the modern amenities and greater accessibility of the Nathalie Salmon House. We want to replicate the tranquil beauty and conviviality of the gardens of both buildings. We want to keep the dining room and kitchen central too – because everyone likes to congregate around food.
We want private nooks and crannies for reading and private conversations as at the Pat Crowley House as well as expansive community rooms like Nathalie Salmon House that are inviting to groups of neighbors.
And finally, we want to be able to provide frequent and regular social outings, wellness, or educational programs, by and for residents, so people of all ages and backgrounds can share, be out-and-about, and ultimately thrive.
It is also very important to H.O.M.E. that our housing be woven into a neighborhood’s vision for itself. That’s why in seeking partners, I began with those communities whose various groups have come together through a “bottom-up” process to create comprehensive Quality of Life Plans.
I have visited with and listened to groups in Austin and Englewood, Bronzeville and South Chicago, all of whom have identified affordable housing and services for seniors and young adults as top priorities. Many of them know of H.O.M.E. because they have seen our Shopping Bus and Upkeep & Repair vans in their streets and are eager to collaborate.
We all share the goal that was expressed more than twenty-five years ago when H.O.M.E. put forth its vision for what became the Nathalie Salmon House: “To resurrect an old social concept: that elders, young to middle-aged adults and children thrive living together in the ‘village,’ sharing joys and responsibilities of life, learning from one another and developing tolerance for differences and appreciation of similarities.”
We invite you to glance through our Concept. We welcome your ideas, introductions to partners, or financial support to make a new intergenerational H.O.M.E. community possible.
And yes this is also housing that is Housing: this new community would be situated in an affordable, attractive, high-quality building too.
Looking for a way to get involved with H.O.M.E? Find out more by following the link below.