Strengthening Public Housing Community With Cooking

An 18th century rendition of four clowns cooking over a wood fire

Shared cooking can be great fun if you don't take yourselves too seriously.

This is part of a series about community. Growing and sustaining a community brings benefits to the participants, provides a means of personal development and builds hope and resilience. It can also smooth the path to build more liveable, life-fulfilling housing for people with very low and no incomes. For more on the series, try: Building More Housing By Strengthening Community

Deepa Gupta had just moved in to her new home in Melbourne, Australia when her building was surrounded fences and police as part of a COVID-19 lockdown1 Deepa was terrified. As a new resident, she had no community connections.

Enter Nagat Abdalla, a health concierge2. Also locked down. Also looking for ways to strengthen connection between residents.

The outcome? Once lockdown lifted, there were picnics. And now there’s a cookbook. The residents are buoyed up by the success of their initiative. Read more at THE AGE: Kitchen connection: How a cookbook helped locked down public housing residents heal


  1. The lockdown was immediately criticized as excessive and discriminatory, but it remained in place for up to 14 days. Try: “For Your Own Good” Pandemic Lockdown An “Assault On Human Dignity”
  2. The health concierge’s main role is to find ways to build community. For a similar example (with a different name) in Canada, try: Strengthening Community: Getting Vaccinations To People Who Might Miss Out

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