The Social Finance for Social Inclusion Lab will develop an innovative financial model to provide access to community connectors. Connectors help residents to develop relationships and a circle of support in their new community. Connectors can also help facilitate volunteer or employment opportunities. Community inclusion promotes a higher quality of life and long-term housing stability.
The Lab will model how a social finance tool could be structured and outline relevant and realistic indicators of success. The Lab will also explore how programs can be implemented across jurisdictions.
3 Key Findings
Co-develop an innovative social finance tool. Provide people with developmental disabilities the support they need to live more independently as members of the community.
Guide the use of community connectors to improve housing stability for people with disabilities.
Investigate ways to expand the social financing model across Canada using a road map to implement and scale the solution.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Increasing community inclusion
Canadians with developmental disabilities are disproportionately impacted by unaffordable housing and homelessness. In Canada, 100,000 people are unable to access housing that meets their support needs to live independently. In addition, almost 25,000 are in core housing need.
People with developmental disabilities face various barriers to social inclusion and community engagement. Addressing these barriers is a priority for individuals who would like to transition away from their family home. Those who have already moved out often struggle with loneliness. These residents have difficulty making connections in the community and frequently suffer from discrimination and loneliness.
Community connectors support the integration of people with developmental disabilities into their community. Community connectors work at the building and neighbourhood levels. They identify opportunities to connect people with their neighbours and recreational, volunteer and employment opportunities.
Research, reinforced by experience in implementing these positions in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario, shows that community connectors can have positive impacts on residents. Connectors can:
- help diminish isolation
- reduce stigma
- support housing stability
The Lab will be done in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase includes project planning, stakeholder mapping and qualitative research to inform key interviews. This phase refines the issue's focus and provides the scope for the remainder of the project.
- The Discovery Phase includes research to understand the lived experience of people with developmental disabilities. This phase also includes direct interviews with finance and social finance experts to understand the existing limits of social financing tools and structures. The discovery phase will define the role of community connectors.
- The Development Phase includes an options design workshop and a prioritization workshop. Stakeholders provide feedback on multiple program designs and share insights into their preferred program design.
- The Prototype and Test Phase evaluates models based on expert, community and other stakeholder opinions to refine the model chosen for the Lab. Key performance indicators will be developed to evaluate the tool’s effectiveness.
- The Roadmap Phase includes the creation of communication materials and a plan to share what was learned in the Lab. This phase will also prepare partners to scale to expand the tool’s use across jurisdictions. The roadmap phase will set the project up for success with participation from financial institutions and seed investors.
Sharing findings, designs and the roadmap
Sharing the findings, design and roadmap with partners and government is a central part of the Lab. The project team will share findings through team and partner networks. The goal is to create accessible orientation materials that make it easy for other groups to use the tool.
- Allison Annesley
- Dana Granofsky – BGM Strategy Group
- Liz McGuire – BGM Strategy Group
- Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion
- Sinneave Family Foundation
Get More Information:
Visit the National Housing Strategy’s Innovation page.
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.