Housing Designed to Meet the Needs of Deaf and Deaf-Blind Residents Enhances their Quality of Life
Created by the Corporation de la Maison des Sourds, the membership-based organization after which the building is named, this project is meeting a community need.
Located in Montréal’s Saint-Michel – Villeray neighbourhood, the 60-unit project opened in 2011. It accommodates single people, couples and families; 94 people ranging in age from 4 months to 89 years. Residents are either deaf, deaf-blind or live with a person who is.
The project was built on the site of a former car wash, on a block surrounded by very busy roadways. “It is a location known to be very noisy, but in our community, noise has no bearing. On the contrary, movement is what is rather important, and even if there is a lot of movement, this is an extremely safe neighbourhood,” explained Noël.
Lighted doorbells, entry-ways with one-way cameras, stroboscopic fire alarms, and pictographic and Braille signage are a few examples of the adaptations made to enhance deaf and deaf-blind residents’ independence and well-being. “They are not completely blind; they still have their peripheral vision,” specified Noël. “The hallways on each floor were therefore painted a specific colour to help residents orient themselves in the building, and the door frames are in a contrasting colour, which also makes it easier for them to locate their own apartment.”
The building also houses the offices of the Maison des Sourds member service organizations. A community room and a laundry room are also included. 60 volunteers help to ensure residents’ needs are met in the building. “It is better for business and for deaf persons; I can meet people who can help me,” summed up France Marchand, a resident.
Construction costs for the Maison des Sourds were $11.2 million, of which nearly $4 million was provided by the Government of Canada (through the Affordable Housing Initiative Program Extension Agreement and Canada’s Economic Action Plan) and the Government of Québec (under the AccèsLogis Québec program of the SHQ).