Cementing A Foundation for Inclusive Housing in Community

The Canadian Association for Community Living, in partnership with its member organizations and People First of Canada, is building a case for affordable, inclusive housing for people who have an intellectual or development disability.

According to the organization, it’s estimated that over 100,000 people who have an intellectual disability “are not able to access affordable housing that meets their support needs, makes possible a home of their own, and offers social and economic inclusion in their communities.”

On March 14th, 2018, the Government of Canada provided an update on its National Housing Strategy, a 10-year plan to find homes for 530,000 families across the country. It also includes 2,400 new affordable housing units for people who have an intellectual or developmental disability.

The Canadian Association for Community Living has three projects underway as part of My Home My Community, a response to the government’s housing strategy.

“We have a lot of anecdotal evidence, and we have a lot of ad hoc solutions that families and individuals need to create inclusive living situations,” said Dana Granofsky, coordinator of the initiative.

“What My Home My Community is going to do is assemble case studies of the best inclusive living situations that have been created, and that’s from an organizational perspective, partnered options, and from people and families.”

The Canadian Association for Community Living received funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which is leading the housing strategy, in order undertake the work.

“One of the pieces of research that we’re working on for CMHC is about helping to define and create an indicator model of inclusive housing, because the corporation has a goal of investing in the production of inclusive housing.”

The indicator model would be used to evaluate the inclusivity of housing proposals put forward to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Granofsky said they hope to have the draft model completed by the end of the year.

The second project involves identifying and studying existing community assets that might be used to create new suitable affordable housing options for people who have an intellectual or developmental disability. The information is being collected through surveys, and the results will become part of an asset inventory.

“The purpose of the asset inventory is to get a baseline of how prepared or what capacity-building we might need to do across pilot sites to be able to successfully prototype where we might need to build up,” added Granofsky.

“It’s also to help us build a case for government and others about the scale and potential of the market, should programs become available for our community.”

The survey for family members is available here, while the link to the survey for people who have an intellectual disability can be accessed here. Support organizations can access their own survey by clicking here.

The final project involves including a disability component to the Canada Housing Benefit that would give people more choice in where they choose to live and the supports needed in order to do so. The $4 billion benefit is to be launched in 2020 and will deliver an average of $2,500 per year to each recipient household.

“The idea is to create a portable housing benefit that is available across the country. We are working to get a disability component added.”

Ultimately, the Canadian Association for Community Living would like to see knowledge transfer tools created, a how-to guide for families with examples of what is possible to either create or improve current existing living situations. Programs and policies would also be developed to help advise government and others, so that new housing units are constructed in an inclusive manner.

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