Affordable and safe housing is a basic need for all of us.
When we have a great place to live in a great neighbourhood of our choice, we can turn our focus to being more connected to our community and enhancing our valued social roles. Communities are richer when everyone, regardless of difference, has the chance to interact and get to know each other, to share their gifts and contribute.
In the Fall of 2015, a Housing Task Force collaborative project began in Windsor-Essex to support eight people to realize their visions of safe and affordable housing and full lives in their chosen neighbourhoods and communities. Following the formal end of the project in March 2018, people’s lives continue to be enriched, as they engage in new valued roles.
Continuing Housing Innovation in Windsor-Essex – A Collaborative Project
Eight people and their families from Windsor and Essex County joined together in collaboration with the following partners: Alliance General Contracting and Flex Custom Home Solutions (two private developers), City of Windsor, Office of Community Development and Health Services/Housing; Windsor-Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports (Brokerage); Windsor-Essex Family Network (WEFN) and Community Living Windsor (CLW), on this innovative proposal/project. A ‘project advisory group’, called the Windsor-Essex Innovative Housing Collaborative Advisory Group, was formed to advise and steer the work.
The people and families participating each have a personal vision for their individualized, innovative housing and support option – one that best meets their unique strengths and challenges. Each vision for home and everyday involvement was developed over a period of time as a result of the following common themes:
- ongoing independent facilitation support;
- conversations with trusted friends and family;
- varied life experiences, roles and responsibilities supported somewhat by individualized funding;
- a local community development initiative called My Home, My Choice that involved the following active partners key to its success over the years: WEFN (the lead), Brokerage, CLW, Family Services Windsor-Essex, City of Windsor, CMHC, ACCESS (Kingsville), Inclusion Press, and PooranLaw. This initiative also involved other partners, too numerous to name. It offered regular opportunities for people and families, as follows: inspiration through real family stories and presentations; availability of timely and relevant information resources about housing options; learning events held at regular intervals; as well as partnerships and community development work with specific local, municipal, provincial and federal government organizations/agencies over six years.
For more information on Continuing Housing Innovation in Windsor-Essex, follow the link below to a slide presentation by the Windsor-Essex Innovative Housing Project Advisory Group at a Housing Forum in Toronto on November 9, 2015.