Author: Stephen MacMackin, DeMille Place Inc    Original Post Date: September 16, 2019

The community I live in may not fit the rural picture that most Canadians have in their head. The Town of Hampton, New Brunswick – population 4,000 – sits halfway between Saint John and Sussex and serves as a bedroom community for both.

Our church, St Paul’s Anglican, has provided support to the community since 1811. Most days we feel like a young community built around schools and sporting activities. I am a 1961 baby boomer who is now starting to think about other issues like housing and aging.

Our church was blessed to have land, which led us to contemplate how it could be put to a greater use. So, in the spring of 2016 we began to explore ideas. The need we identified was for senior’s apartment housing. Lack of it, is forcing people to move from our community.

Today we have a 21-unit building under construction; it has been built to be affordable, accessible and energy efficient. Sometimes it is hard to believe this has happened.

Myself, I am not a naive person but as I now sit back and recount in my mind how we got to this point and the many hurdles we overcame, I am amazed.

Our dedicated team of people has worked diligently now for over three years. A not-for-profit corporation was created to do this project. We spoke to people, visited other projects, collaborated with government agencies, worked with town administrators, created a plan with our design team, and tried to learn all we could before we started.

Yes, we have many learnings and lessons to share. Yes, we had days when we thought this project might not happen, but it has.

This month we have begun the process of interviewing people to become tenants in our building. The joy and excitement from those who will be living in this new building has reminded us of why we started this project.

This was truly a good idea. We are thankful it has happened.

This post was written ahead of the Saint John Café Pracadémique on Community Housing Sustainability in the context of aging and rural populations (originally posted September 16, 2019).