HAND Member Profile: Mi Casa, Inc. – the Collaborator – Fostering Connections in D.C.’s First Inter-Generational Affordable Community
The old adage “it takes a village” could have been Mi Casa’s purpose statement behind the creation of Genesis, an affordable intergenerational housing community in Washington, D.C, where service-minded seniors and young families transitioning out of foster care and their children live as neighbors…but if all goes as planned, the relationships between residents might be more along the lines of family.
At the “welcome home” celebration last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser encapsulated that sentiment: “Genesis is not a project, not an apartment, it’s a community.” And some of the residents, such as Jameka Anderson, a young mother who aged out of foster care, and Bonnie Duffy-Page, an elderly resident, are already living that reality. The halls of the 27-unit building often echo with laughter as Bonnie rides Jameka’s young children around on her electric wheel chair. For Tameka, it also means her children are surrounded by people who teach them new things, whether it’s how to operate that electric wheel chair or a little bit about their African heritage.
Even though the concept is new to D.C., Mi Casa collaborated with experts in the field, Generations of Hope, an organization that introduced the model of intentional integrational communities 20 years ago with its community Hope Meadow in Illinois. Along with Generations of Hope, and the Mayor’s Office, Mi Casa partnered with other District agencies and community groups, such as Vida Senior Centers and Latin American Youth Center, to ensure the residents had the right services and resources available to them.
There’s no doubt that the younger residents will benefit by living in an intergenerational community, but what about the seniors? As part of the Mayor’s commitment to combating homelessness and transforming the District into an “Age-Friendly City,” Genesis offers service-minded elders an outlet for their young spirits. Specifically targeted to active seniors who like to make a difference, the older residents volunteer 100 hours a quarter to the apartment community – and can be a respite/baby sitter, a mentor or simply a friend to their young neighbors.
HAND is pleased to spotlight Mi Casa, Inc. which certainly contributes to our organization’s COLLABORATION, INNOVATION and TRANSFORMATION within the metropolitan area!