People with developmental disabilities and medical complexities face many challenges in finding suitable housing. Housing options and development processes that support social and reverse inclusion are lacking. This means there is an opportunity to envision new possibilities for these housing solutions and how they could be developed.
This Lab draws on the collected wisdom of the Intentional Community Consortium (ICC), a community of agencies from across Ontario. It will create space for stakeholders, including those with lived expertise, to work towards new housing and development models. This supports work by ICC members that is already underway. It also ensures that new housing units for individuals with developmental disabilities and medical complexities are truly inclusive places to live.
Key Findings / Key Goals
Strategize on how the Intentional Community Consortium can become a national resource to support the creation of inclusive housing.
Create innovative, inclusive housing for individuals with developmental disabilities and medical complexities through a collaborative process.
Generate new and exciting ideas by involving diverse stakeholders, including individuals with developmental disabilities and medical complexities.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Increased risk of loneliness and social isolation
People with developmental disabilities and medical complexities have endured a history of stigma and segregation. This places them at increased risk of experiencing emotional loneliness and social isolation. A social inclusion approach to designing homes can reduce social barriers for people with developmental disabilities and medical complexities. It can also improve their quality of life and help them develop a greater sense of social belonging.
One way to accomplish this is through reverse inclusion. This concept comes from education, where children who are developing in a typical way are included in special education classrooms. This Lab will work with stakeholders to create a definition and framework for using that approach in housing. This would bring the wider community into housing for people with developmental disabilities, potentially leading to increased social inclusion.
A collective process for the future
The methodology of the Affordable Housing for Social Inclusion Solution Lab emphasizes building a collective process through co-design. It works to meaningfully involve individuals with lived experience of isolation and loneliness due to developmental disabilities and medical complexities.
The Lab occurs in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will include Lab Team meetings, participant recruitment and the development of a detailed engagement strategy. Every effort will be made to recruit participants from different age groups, locations and needs. Initial desk research on existing approaches to reverse inclusion also will take place.
- The Discovery Phase includes a kick-off event for Lab participants via video conference. This event will reveal current system needs in the development process for creating reverse inclusion. An online survey will be conducted to fill in gaps. Focus groups will be held with families and individuals supported by Reena and its partner, Safehaven.
- The Development Phase focuses on the Solution Development Workshop, which will help participants develop scenarios to be built further.
- The Prototype and Test Phase moves to make the theoretical and abstract solutions feel real. This will allow them to be discussed, refined and evaluated. Subject matter experts will help the Lab Team and participants refine solutions to make them desirable, feasible and viable.
- The Roadmap Phase includes milestones and activities that promote the communication and implementation of the Lab’s solutions. The Lab Team will host a final working session with ICC members to build a plan for the developed solutions. The Lab roadmap will include activities and insights from the Lab and the roles of the various players and stakeholders.
Truly inclusive places to live
The Lab aims to see its models and approaches replicated and scaled by ICC members and other communities in Canada. This will be encouraged through built-in communication channels, such as through the ICC and its member organizations. These organizations will use the ICC website and their own networks to share the Lab roadmap and other materials. Planned Lab events also will be used to share and spread knowledge.
This Lab also helps ensure that future units built for individuals with developmental disabilities are truly inclusive places to live. This includes work already underway by the Intentional Community Consortium (ICC) and the 2400 units planned under the National Housing Strategy.
Project Team: Reena
Location: Thornhill, Ontario
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- SHS Consulting
- OCAD University
- BATAY Reena
- Christian Horizons
- Community Living Toronto
- UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
- Kenora District Services Board
- Kenora Chiefs Advisory
Get More Information:
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.
See how you can apply for a Solutions Lab grant.