We believe that "safe, affordable and adequate housing" will help individuals and families improve their lives. We also believe that the housing provides the foundation for the development of a healthy community. “Bricks and mortar” build the structure, but it is the supportive management which we provide that helps us make a significant difference! By involving tenants in the management and maintenance of the building we are able help them increase their sense of responsibility. This also contributes to growth of the community within the building and contributes to the involvement of the tenants within the surrounding neighbourhood.
We have seen the growth of community at HEARTWOOD PLACE ON GAUKEL in many ways. We know this through comments from tenants, reports from the Superintendent, and increased participation in special events in the Community Room and Roof-Top Patio. Although HEARTWOOD PLACE ON AINSLIE is new, there are already signs of a growing community in the building. The first special event was a Halloween Party where they met and mingled, enjoyed our special fruit punch and Keith's tasty coffee, along with sweets and treats. Some came in full costume, including some young folks. Superintendents Robert and Gail helped with the evening, including meeting "Trick or Treaters" in the neighbourhood and sharing candy provided by tenants and volunteers. Everyone is looking forward to the Annual Holiday Party!
Another tradition at HEARTWOOD PLACE is to give holiday baskets to our tenants filled with food to be enjoyed over the holidays. We are so grateful and appreciative to Pillers Sausages for their generosity in donating 99 half-hams that are to be given to all of our tenants as part of the holiday baskets, THANK YOU PILLERS!
We at HEARTWOOD PLACE see the need for a sense of community to exist among our tenants, and were happy to receive confirmation from Consuelo Griggio, a graduate Student from the University of Waterloo. Consuelo interviewed a wide range of tenants and learned that living at HEARTWOOD PLACE ON GAUKEL has helped them make positive changes in their lives. Coming from positions of disadvantage and weakness, they have made real improvements, motivated by what Consuelo describes as "strong and sensitive management, a sense of security and pride in their apartments". As one tenant put it simply but effectively, "I feel this is home, not housing".
Consuelo concluded her report with a statement about the role of Heartwood Place in the greater community. She observed that individuals and government "see that their investment has been fruitfully used" and that Heartwood Place has a valuable role in providing decent, affordable housing. As one tenant said to Consuelo, "Heartwood Place is a place of change."
Consuelo Griggio's Thesis Paper (abbreviated version)