I'm sure by now everyone has heard of speed dating, but did you know you can apply that very same type of event to making friends? What a great way to bring your community together than to have a "speed friending" event. This is extremely simple, all you need is some space to set up and some cards for participants to write notes/names on. Allow everyone to mingle while they check in, then, when everyone has had a chance to arrive, have participants sit across the table and give them one or two minutes to ask questions and get to know each other. Then, have them switch....Using their cards, have them write down the names of the person/persons they would like to be friends with...then, if two people have each others names on the paper, let them know so they can exchange contact information.
It's that simple. Very much like speed dating without the high expectations and what better way to retain residents than to have them make friends right in their own community.
Variation: have girls meet one night and boys meet on a separate night to make sure it is clear that this is not a dating event.