People sitting in circle in classroom during meeting.

Over the course of two days, CACL and IRIS staff, PT ACL members, and community partners met in Toronto to plan on how to create safe and inclusive housing through CACL’s national My Home My Community (MHMC) initiative.

“Ten of thousands of Canadians with intellectual disabilities don’t have access to safe, inclusive, and affordable housing. MHMC is designed to confront this challenge and ensure that all Canadians have a say in where they live and how they live,”says Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President at CACL.

This design workshop – organized by CACL, IRIS, and People First of Canada – aimed at discussing the next phase of the MHMC initiative through collaborative working groups and a series of panelists.

Participants heard from a variety of presenters about promising ways to better meet the housing needs of people with intellectual disabilities in ways that result in the experience of ‘home’ in inclusive communities.

Presenters included Doug Tennant, Semiahmoo House Society; Janet Klees, Dufferin Family Respite Services; and Tim Ross, Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada; among many others.

Participants further explored the supports required to strengthen the diversity of people with intellectual disabilities to live independently in the community with access to affordable housing, the experience of having a home, and supports that ensure safety and inclusion.

“MHMC will drive innovation in affordable housing development and supports to enable the full diversity of people with intellectual disabilities to secure a home, inclusive lives, safety and belonging in their communities,” says Michael Bach, Managing Director at IRIS.

The design workshop also consisted of working together to investigate housing pathways from different perspectives, and discussing how to best engage municipalities to make MHMC a leader of inclusive cities and communities.

Overall, the MHMC initiative will promote access to affordable housing and community inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities through four key partnerships with individuals, families and advocates; housing leaders; cities and communities; and researchers and policymakers.