The Crisis: Supportive Housing in Canada
Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities
The challenges associated with caring for someone with a permanent intellectual and/or developmental disability are enormous. Parents and caregivers shoulder a lifelong burden of care and financial support to provide a safe, loving environment for each individual.
But what happens after the caregivers are gone?
As it stands today, for the majority of parents and caregivers, there is no one in line to take over and continue providing for their loved one when the primary caregiver is no longer able to do so. The ability of parents or family members to provide continuous 24/7 care is negatively impacted by health concerns, job related issues, other logistical problems, and ultimately loss of life.
In most cases this means that, when their primary care is no longer available, an individual with special needs will experience a sharp decline in the safety, quality, and length of their life. This projection creates added stress and hardship for the parents and family members caring for special needs adults, as they try to secure a succession plan for care on their own and against almost impossible financial odds.
Although there are some facilities designed for long-term care of special needs adults, these homes are not sufficient to meet current demands, and a lack of new housing initiatives and community-based funding projects have created a decades-long waiting list for housing and support services for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
In Halton Region (Ontario) alone, the list is 14,000 families long and counting.
As a result, if no community or group home alternatives are available and the individual requires immediate placement, this may mean that the individual is placed in a housing situation that is not designed to accommodate their specific needs. Special needs adults in crisis may be sent to nursing homes, hospitals, or jails, creating stressful, socially inappropriate, and often damaging living conditions.
In addition, available public housing units in prime urban areas that could be used to provide housing and care for those with special needs are still being sold to private developers, further compounding the problem.
The population of Canada has been aging for the past 20 years, as baby boomers approach their senior years. As of 2016, Canadian seniors officially outnumber children, and the aging trend continues to progress. Many senior Canadians in need of retirement housing struggle to cover their living costs, as there is no public funding support available to assist with retirement accommodations. In addition, the available long-term nursing home accommodations are insufficient to support the current level of demand, creating a waiting list of six months or more.
In Ontario, over 32,000 seniors in need of long-term care are waiting to get into a nursing home.
By 2025, it is projected that 610,000+ senior Canadians will require accommodation in retirement homes, supportive housing, or long-term care homes. Currently, the infrastructure and housing needed to care for this future is not being developed even as demand continues to grow.
Many existing facilities are out-of-date, in remote locations, or lack key services.
In Ontario, 300 of the province’s 626 long-term facilities are old and require redevelopment, and another 47% are in rural areas and offer limited services. In addition, 40% of existing care homes are small, offering fewer than 96 beds.
Physically Disabled Adults
Our Solution: MURB
We need to do better for our communities and the individuals and families within them who are facing housing crises.
At The Cribwolf Foundation we are working to address these concerns, with a primary focus on the availability of housing and support services in every community. Our most immediate project is the design and construction of a community-central, multi-unit residential building (MURB) with a mixed tenancy model for adults over the age of 21 with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, senior citizens, and physically disabled adults over the age of 18. For more details, visit our MURB page.