Travis Tuck is 26-years-old, owns his own business, has a dog named Max, and lives in his own apartment.
Travis also has an intellectual disability and used to live in a group home in Parry Sound, Ontario. His goal, however, was always to move out on his own into a place that truly felt like home.
The My Home My Choice project, a pilot initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living, gave Travis the chance to make the transition he longed for. My Home My Choice works with residential service providers and local governments to transform residential services such as group homes to include supporting people to live in homes of their own in community. Parry Sound was chosen as a pilot site for the project due to its progressive work in supporting persons with intellectual disabilities in community and its inclusive vision of the services it wanted to provide.
“People are much more happy when they feel empowered, when they’re making choices and they feel that their life has value,” says Jo-Anne Demick, Executive Director, Community Living Parry Sound.
My Home My Choice gave Travis the chance to move out of the group residence and live independently with the support he needed to be successful – providing him with a living environment that looks much like any other young adult. Working with support staff from Community Living Parry Sound and Community Living Ontario to form a plan and a monthly budget, Travis is now a tenant in his own apartment in the community.
Travis, owner of TT Maintenance, is well known in Parry Sound for providing excellent service raking leaves, shovelling snow, clearing driveways and doing landscape work. As a self-employed entrepreneur, he is always looking for more jobs because he knows he needs income to pay his rent and bills.
“I do TT Maintenance, I’m the pro at cutting grass. It’s my own business,” says Travis. Prior to moving, Travis was kept awake by others living in the group home, causing him to be tired at work. “People were doing laundry at 2 o’clock in the morning and waking me up. I get up first thing in the morning, and I don’t want to wake up other people either.”
In his new apartment, Travis is able to get a good night’s rest and get ready for work without worrying about disturbing anyone else. He also loves that his home is located on the ATV track, enabling him to do what he loves most: be outside.
“The more people that are out in the community, the more presence there is, and the more acceptance there is,” says Rick Harrington, Supervisor of Community Support Services, Community Living Parry Sound.
My Home My Choice challenges the notion that people with intellectual disabilities are best served living together and receiving similar supports. Community Living Parry Sound also challenges this notion.
Paul Muldoon of PGM Consulting & Training Services Inc. echoes this saying, “My Home My Choice challenged that. And the organization was ready to be challenged, and the two came together. That’s a huge, profound shift.