A Story

Hillcrest Lodge in Orillia has provided Cindy Dixon with a safe, affordable place to live. Now in its 10th year, the independent-living facility has a waiting list of seniors seeking rent-geared-to-income apartments. Dixon voluntarily tends to the property's gardens. - Frank Matys/Metroland

Cindy Dixon has faced her share of challenges in 59 years.
Most recently, it was health problems that coincided with a search for affordable accommodations — no easy feat in Orillia’s pricey rental market.
“I wasn’t going to be able to go to an apartment,” she said. “I would not have survived because of the cost factor.”
Dixon found her solution at Hillcrest Lodge, a charitable operation that provides geared-to-income rental units for vulnerable seniors.
“It’s affordable, it’s a safe place (and) my meals are provided,” she said. “And there are people around me — I’m not secluded.”
Dixon, who has taken to voluntarily tending the outdoor gardens, said she had found a home at the Cedar Street building. 
“I really feel strongly that we need more places like this to help seniors and those who are in a financial bind where they can’t thrive,” she said.

A decade after opening its doors, demand is surging for apartments at Hillcrest Lodge, which has a waiting list.