A wonderful housing project bringing together young mums and adolescent girls to live alongside older residents who act as coaches, giving support, advice and of course wisdom.

In Beekmos, Houten, Netherlands an innovative program is bringing young mothers or young girls who can not live with their families to live with four older residents. The older residents bring life experience and can offer useful advice which is invaluable to the young women. On the reverse end, the relationships are good for the older residents because it offers the opportunities to add a sense of meaning to their lives and builds relationships.

The older residents, live like "good neighbours," assisting the young women with small daily tasks such as babysitting, providing relational support and helping them build social networks. Eating together is encourages as are trips and activities. This is all about togetherness and community support.

The design and location of the building are important. The building itself is located in the city centre. And this makes it easier for everyone — older and younger — to get to the shops and services with very little effort. The older residents live on the ground floor while the upper apartments are reserved for the young women. The rooftop terrace, collective meeting spaces and consulting rooms create spaces that encourage meeting and intermingling.

It is a wonderful intergenerational project as well as social project — brining the complementary needs of two social groups are combined in order to create synergies. It not only responds to housing problems, but also to the need to build social relationships. But for us, what is so wonderful is the boldness and real innovation at the heart of the project. Combining the interests of young and old to form an affordable housing program is a great  concept. 

Out of the box thinking is what it will take to truly house and nurture various special populations.

"The design and location of the building are important. The building itself is located in the city centre. And this makes it easier for everyone — older and younger — to get to the shops and services with very little effort."

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