Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


Parkdale Community Food Centre: Serving Hope!

Just as the kitchen is the heart of any home, the Parkdale Community Food Centre will be the heart of Indwell’s newest affordable housing community, Parkdale Landing in east Hamilton. This hub for food-related celebrations and activities will serve a delicious daily hot meal to the tenants at Parkdale Landing, will improve food security in the neighbourhood, and offer workshops and formal skills training in the Greater Hamilton Area.

Busy days at the centre will feature workshops for tenants learning to live independently, including training on how to plan, shop, cook, and eat well. Other community-building and food security activities will include baking and cooking groups, tea-times and special holiday meals. The McQuesten neighbourhood is home to a dense population, including many newcomers to Canada, who will gather for celebrations and food-related activities, and will access educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. Start-ups and small catering companies will grow and flourish because of the kitchen. Finally, a highlight will be accredited employment readiness programs and culinary courses offered throughout the year. These courses will provide affordable routes to enter the workplace, and are geared towards chronically unemployed or underemployed people, including Indwell tenants. All the activities will support Indwell’s values of dignity, hope and love, and will reduce poverty by empowering and equipping participants.

The Parkdale Community Food Centre will feature a large commercial kitchen, designed to teach up to 20 people at a time. Whether for classes or community groups, the space will afford a dynamic place to share, learn and work together. The commercial equipment will mirror a professional kitchen, simulating real-life experiences for the learners, and making the transition to employment seamless. The kitchen will open onto a large, bright dining room, with seating for up to 75 people. Two adjacent teaching classrooms will augment the learning environment, with up-to-date technology in both rooms.

In the first year, we estimate the centre will serve over 20,000 daily meals to the Indwell tenants; in the second year that will grow to over 30,000 meals served as the next phase of Parkdale Landing opens. Educational cooking and community events will increase these numbers significantly, adding to the food security of the region.

Parkdale Landing, currently under construction and on schedule to open by fall 2018, is the adaptive re-use of a derelict banquet hall, tavern and rooming house. It will include 57 permanent affordable studio apartments above the Parkdale Community Food Centre. It is estimated that 50% of tenants will be referred from psychiatric services (usually hospital), 30% will be referred from homelessness or jail, while the remainder will come from other under-supported settings. Indwell offers much more than basic shelter, but a way back into healthy, stable and supportive community. Food security is an essential element.

Indwell is a registered charity creating affordable housing communities with supports since 1974. It has grown from serving eight people in a home setting to serving 440 people in apartment building communities in Hamilton, Woodstock and Simcoe, with expansion into London and Mississauga planned over the next two years.

Indwell’s model is progressive and innovative, and has provided low-income people facing mental health and physical challenges with dignity and hope. With over 500 people on Indwell’s waitlist, there is an urgent need for this kind of supported affordable housing. While housing is the first essential step of restoring hope, building community is where the greatest lasting changes are seen. With the Parkdale Landing Community Food Centre, we answer not only the call of food security, but respect and empower society’s underserved and most marginalized people.

Broker supported


Location: Hamilton