Dundas group home advocates will continue, despite funding rejection
Challenged adults would be housed with active seniors, scholar students
A Dundas-based group hoping to expand housing options for developmentally disabled adults has failed to land provincial funding for its latest pitch despite highprofile support.
The proposal, called At Home With Friends, didn’t make the cut out of 69 applications submitted to the Developmental Services Housing Task Force.
“Professionals and lay persons found our proposal to be an excellent one, and one which met or exceeded all the (task force’s) criteria,” Martha Fox, one of the effort’s main proponents, said this week.
The Hamilton Community Foundation, McMaster University, Mohawk College, Catholic Family Services, Salvation Army and others backed the proposal.
“Needless to say we are discouraged but not giving up at this point. Our families are taking the rest of the summer to consider options and new directions,” Fox added.
In March, the group pitched At Home With Friends to the task force, which was looking for innovative housing models that could be replicated elsewhere in an effort to cut back a housing backlog.
In 2014, there were 14,326 Ontarians with developmental disabilities waiting for places to live, the auditor general reported.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services task force selected six projects, which will receive $2 million over two years in funding.
They include one in Lambton County for two people; one in Eastern Ontario that involves Algonquin College; another in Ottawa involving three agencies and 12 apartments; a project in Ottawa led by the Coalition des families francophones d’Ottawa; a Community Living Essex County effort that aims to customize living spaces through technology; and a two-agency model in York Region for eight people.
Twelve projects were funded during the project’s first call for proposals.
Fox and others have tried for years to establish a safe and nearby residence for their children. The province rejected an earlier pitch for an 18-bed Dundas Living Centre.
The parents’ fear is that when they die, their children — who live with a range of developmental challenges — will be sent to live far away from their peers and relatives.
At Home With Friends sought about $1 million in operational funding over two years to house and support eight relatively high-needs tenants.
Post-secondary scholarship students and “well seniors” are added to the mix as “good neighbours.” The students get free tuition and rent in exchange for offering the special-needs tenants with 15 to 20 hours a week in support and companionship.