Gathering Lays Groundwork for Building on Resilience of 169 Lake St.

Social housing residents express concerns and take ownership for some changes

Hope for positive change within the 169 Lake St. social housing complex was newly sparked. A Dec. 17 gathering provided ways for residents to voice concerns and take some ownership for creating a brighter future.

Centred on practices encouraging deep listening and accountability, the gathering revealed that residents at 169 Lake St. have faced some challenges, but it also showed the community’s resilience.

“I’ve been really inspired and encouraged by the quality of connection and community resourcefulness that’s emerging from this dialogue process.”
— Marion Little

By the end of the two-hour circle, many of the more than 30 people gathered had expressed what they were willing to do themselves to create positive change in the complex – from starting a social committee in order to bring more people together, to helping enforce smoking rules, and much more.

One core concern requires outside intervention – fixing the water heating system – and this has already been brought to the attention to the CEO of the Peterborough Housing Corporation.  It turns out that Peterborough Housing has had feet on the ground working to repair the system for some time, but there was a communication breakdown around that. The CEO has since offered to meet with residents to discuss that and other structural issues raised.

The Lake St. gathering was the fourth to take place in December within Peterborough Housing Corp. neighbourhoods as a first step in creating a new-to-Peterborough community mediation program.

Cohosted by Peter Pula of the Peterborough Dialogues and Marion Little, the gatherings were intended to shape the community mediation program by hearing from the people who will be most impacted by it.

“I’ve been really inspired and encouraged by the quality of connection and community resourcefulness that’s emerging from this dialogue process,” says Marion, who is developing the community mediation program in partnership with the Peterborough Housing Corporation, Peterborough Police Service, and the John Howard Society.

“Learning about what matters in the community and fostering these kinds of circle discussions is central to developing a community mediation program that’s responsive and meaningful.”

The project has been funded by a grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Follow-up gatherings will be taking place at a number of the housing complexes in the new year.

To learn more, contact Marion at the Community Mediation Peterborough office (located in the John Howard Society building). Phone #: 705-743-8331, Ext. 216. E-mail address: mediation(at)jhsptbo.com.

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