We Said / You Said

In the last Ezine we asked the question: “What ‘s the most innovative housing solution for people with disabilities that you know of?”

We received several responses to innovative housing options and also some individuals told us what their dreams and desires are. Please enjoy.


Co-housing – Began in Denmark about 50 years ago. BC has co-housing projects in Courtney, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Robert’s Creek, Nanimo, Victoria, Sooke to name a few. A group of people own their own dwelling (strata title) but share a common house, gardens with member group. Members come with an expectation that they will connect with their neighbours, develop a social network, have a voice in the community (consensus decision making), involve themselves in activities with other members or their own individual endeavours, and care for each other when the need arises (co-care). It allows people to be creative, to learn and share their knowledge and skills, enjoy pot lucks and other activities common to the membership in a safe and welcoming environment. Members often engage and contribute to the community at large and come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Resources: Books: Creating Cohousing – Building Sustainable Communities by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett; New Society Publishers, 2011. The Senior Cohousing Handbook- A Community Approach to Independent Living by Charles Durrett; New Society Publishers, 2009. www.cohousing.ca

The ACiDO Project. Within Ontario and across the country, the need for residential care and support for intellectually disabled adults has reached epidemic proportions as wait lists reach record lengths and aging parents retreat in frustration and despair. The voices of this marginalized population need to be heard and solutions developed. In the hope of offering all stakeholders to this issue an alternative approach, the ACiDO project was formed. Bringing together parents, social agencies, the not-for-profit sector, academia and government, the ACiDO project has been researching and examining the issues associated with the care and housing of the intellectually disabled over the past twelve months. A model for both continuous housing development and sustained operational support has been proposed. This model is one which can be implemented by any interested stakeholder group including a social agency serving the intellectually disabled, the private sector interested in building social capital, a not-for-profit aligned with the issue, or a group of concerned parents. Regardless of the sponsor, it is only through partnerships with all parties that real social change will be possible. This report is the product of the research of the ACiDO project. It is seen as a living document that will change and improve over time as it is informed by additional stakeholders and partners, however this fact should not delay its immediate and widespread consideration and animation. For this reason, it is being distributed to all interested parties with the hope of generating awareness and support for the timely planning and execution of the proposed demonstration project. We invite you to read it and offer any thoughts or comments you may have. If you are interested in becoming involved in the implementation of this innovative approach, please feel free to contact the undersigned at your convenience. Sincerely, David McLean Jim Witt 416 205 4646-work 905 825-9665 ext. 222-work 416 278-0177-mobile 416 433-5359-mobile david.mclean@zurich.com sales@tarrison.com

My dream is to build a lane home on my property and a two bedroom suite in my primary house. When I retire, I want to live in my lane home and rent my house to a home share provider. The home share provider can live in the upstairs with his/her family and support my son and a room-mate in the suite. We have a tradition of Sunday night dinners where family, friends and support people gather at our house. I love the idea of all of us keeping up this tradition.

Cluster housing project

Well, great question: My response is impulsive from within. It applies to a certain segment of the disabled population who are without families to care for them. What if people who want to adopt children consider adopting disabled persons needing new parents, and/or a new home? What if foster familes could also assist in this process? I do not mean a group home, a real home with parent(s) willing to parent and care for an adult disabled orphaned child?

I would love to have a house as big as a block and very big living room and plus a very big bedroom and near a forest park very far away from metro mall and near a pool like Eileen Dailly Leeisure Pool or near a lake or river or ocean and a dishwasher in the house and with clothes washer and dryer and a large garage for four cars or more like bikes, wagons, tools, camping stuff.

I leased a townhouse in 2006 and rent out one room sometimes two to share the cost but sometimes its a real challenge with some of the roommates but over all it is a way to stay independent. I wouldn’t be able to get this same lease now as my income is only 800.74 from CPP and I have money in the bank so I don’t think I qualify for Ottawa housing and it takes 10 years to get anyway.

I’ve been lucky enough to live in a 140 unit apartment building in a great location in Calgary where there are 10 accessible two bedroom apartments for people with physical disabilities to live…best of all six of us who rent the apartments share the services of 1 care attendant who is here from 7pm – 9am every night…the attendant makes their rounds in the early evenings to see if we need anything & then comes back & helps us into bed at different times…also the attendant is available (by cellphone) during the night to come up from the apartment they sleep in if any emergencies arise…all-in-all it leads to living in a wonderful, safe environment that allows the majority of us living here to hold down jobs and contribute to our community:)

1. Home of Your own ( ownship) 2. Co-op

My reply to the question will appear to be biased, but I strongly feel that the Parent Support Group for Families of Mentally Handicapped Adults Society – A home of our own (AHOO) – a supportive community living complex, is my choice as the most innovative housing solution for people with disabilities as well as a cost effective solution to scarce resource dollars .. The complex would be home to individuals requiuring 24/7 supportive care, parents who wish to live with or along side their son or daughter, and members of the community who wish to be part of the lives of the residents would live there offering friendship and support. This would truly be an “inclusive community”.