2 ways to support housing in North Muskoka with Community Living Huntsville

Smiling woman stands outside in black winter coat with her hand on a front door's handle.

Suzanne Willett, Executive Director, Community Living Huntsville, says community members can help open doors in an inclusive community by supporting the not-for-profit organization’s housing initiatives. Photo by Community Living Huntsville.

Community Living Huntsville’s new housing initiatives are about creating equality of opportunity for people with developmental disabilities – but help is needed.

Data shows that, in Ontario, a person with a developmental disability faces a wait time for affordable housing that is 10-times longer than that of the average person, and 18 to 30 per cent of chronic shelter users have a developmental disability.

“Our community has come a long way in honouring the rights of people with developmental disabilities to be included as respected, valued, and contributing community members. But, as the deepening housing crisis pushes more people and families we support toward housing insecurity and into homelessness, it feels like we are going backward,” says Suzanne Willett, Executive Director, Community Living Huntsville. “An increasingly hostile market has seen many people and families we support excluded from homeownership, and dismissed as tenants, while systemic barriers and harmful misconceptions about people with disabilities see many overlooked as rental candidates.”

The not-for-profit organization took action with new ideas, like its Transitional Housing Initiative and Be an Inclusive Landlord campaign.

Transitional Housing offers young men the organization supports, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, stable housing for up to four years. While there, they receive staff support to create action plans, complete housing-related programs, build skills, access resources, and forge the community connections needed to find and keep a place of their own. It has already changed lives, but relies on fundraisers, donations, and charitable grants to continue.

Be an Inclusive Landlord encourages property owners to consider people and families the organization supports as viable candidates for rental apartments in Huntsville, and to work with the organization on stable, supported, and mutually beneficial tenancies. Some property owners have answered the call. More are needed.

Your support can help Community Living Huntsville build a stronger community – because housing opens the door to the stability, services, and connections people need to get on, and stay on, their feet:

“They helped me find a place, get a job, and get my life set up,” says Ben*, a Transitional Housing participant.

You can take action in two ways:

Help open doors in an inclusive community. Learn more at www.clhuntsville.ca.

*Name has been changed