Guy lives in a small apartment on the first floor of the building, his space adorned with a large number of brightly colored dragons and various other action figures. A prominent Mets banner hangs above the living room next to a rack of two old looking swords. His apartment is different than others that we've been in, as it has a large counter that splits the kitchen from the living room.
"They put in the counter before I moved in. I wanted something stationary, out of the way, that was easy to eat at." This is a community that values its residents' individualized needs.
Guy has a deep appreciation for living somewhere where he can maintain his independence while being around people his own age. Before coming to SBCH, he was living at 3 Cathedral Square beginning in his mid 20s even though the building is intended to house elders. Surrounded by people who could have been his grandparents, he longed for somewhere he could find people his own age to connect with. Living here, he's able to continue doing things that he enjoys - going to the gym, visiting Church St., going shopping - while having access to a high level of medical care. He's also surrounded by people who are a variety of ages, but all under 62.
As the first resident of South Burlington Community Housing, Guy has a lot of knowledge about the community and how it was started, and he's the only original resident remaining, so his institutional memory is invaluable for residents and staff alike. In fact, he was on a committee to help determine the needs for people who should live there. And when last year there was a push to turn the community into assisted living, he helped spearhead the opposition to the plan to ensure that the residents could continue to maintain their independence.
"We brought in politicians, the [Visiting Nurses Association] higher ups, and they put a stop to that," he asserts. "I'm not an advocate of assisted living. It's too structured for me; meals are at a certain time, bed is at a certain time...It's not for me."
Guy seems protective of this community, as anyone would be after living somewhere for sixteen years. After living somewhere for almost ten years where he never felt like he had a community, Guy has made a home at SBCH, where he can connect with his neighbors over community meals and other group activities.