John Harris is known as ‘the rock’ of VMCH’s affordable homes community in Mentone.
The retired butcher, aged 79, has lived in his affordable home for 13 years and says he loves it “110 per cent”.
“Everyone here is lovely. Everyone feels safe; we all know each other. As new people come in, we make them feel welcome.”
Stage 4 restrictions and social isolation have hit many older people hard, particularly those living alone. But John says a strong community spirit and caring nature of his 20 neighbours has made all the difference during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being in a higher-risk group for the virus, John says he and his neighbours take their safety seriously, but they don’t let it get in the way of their mental health.
“People are very good here doing the right thing. A few of us might sit out on a nice sunny day and have a cuppa with our masks on, one and a half metres away from each other, of course. We have this nice driveway and if we see someone struggling with their groceries, we can help. Everyone seems to be coping well. Even though we’re single, we’re not alone.”
VMCH provides affordable homes for around 400 people aged 55 and over at 21 locations across Melbourne.