Elmira Intentional Communities
Field Of Dreams
Snow Goose is a four-plex on a residential street in Elmira that was built in 2008-9 by EDSC with investment from EDCL and in partnership with the Region of Waterloo.
In addition to the people with developmental disabilities who live in their own apartments, two students from the University of Waterloo / Renision Universtity College live at Snow Goose rent-free and receive a full tuition scholarship for being “Good Friend and Neighbour” to the other tenants.
They do not fulfill the role of a paid staff support worker. Simply by virtue of their presence and their commitment to be open to others, a social safety net is provided and real connections are made, reducing social isolation and loneliness.
This “Good Neighbour” concept would become the defining feature of EDSC’s approach to intentional community moving forward.
Field Of Dreams
IN THE BEGINNING: More than 40 years ago, a family had a dream for their community. They donated a 2-acre parcel of land to Elmira District Community Living (EDCL), in the hopes that their gift would permit the creation of housing for adults with intellectual disabilities.
For many years no one thought this was possible.
Until one day, EDCL envisioned an innovative model of housing, where individuals could live more independently and be supported by family, the community, technology and “Good Neighbours”.
Thus began our Field of Dreams.
Following the success of Snow Goose, EDCL negotiated a trade with local builder, swapping the field for a piece of property in a multi-residential zoned subdivision development, and then gifted it to EDSC.
EDSC subsequently produced it’s Field Of Dreams Proposal outlining a plan for four, seven-unit apartment buildings that would be developed on the property.
This multi-stage undertaking would expand on EDSC’s unique brand of intentional community, increasing the ratio of “Good Neighbours” in each location, including another student/scholarship recipient, and a variety of other Elmira residents wanting high-quality affordable housing and who were sincerely committed to helping create a sense of community where they lived.
The fist building was completed and occupied in November 2014, and the second saw tenants move in 2 years later. Occupancy of the third building took place in January 2018. The fourth and final was completed in June of 2019.
The region of Waterloo has remained an important partner throughout, and a new scholarship relationship has been developed with the Faculty of Social Work-Masters Program at Wilfrid Laurier University as a result of a very generous private donation.
After the completion of the first Field of Dreams building, EDSC would complete the final three phases financially independent of EDCL.