Building a Path to Housing Inclusion with Community Living Huntsville

People with developmental disabilities and their families deserve a place to call home in a welcoming and inclusive community. But you can’t build your life and feel a sense of belonging as a respected, included, and contributing community member when you have nowhere to live.

The housing crisis is brutally real in Muskoka. A growing number of people and families who access Community Living Huntsville’s services are homeless or at risk of homelessness due to too few apartments, aggressive competition, unattainably high rents, and systemic barriers in a ruthless market.

This is especially true for people with developmental disabilities who must access the Ontario Disability Support Program. How can you afford to live a life of dignity and community inclusion on roughly $1,200 a month(1) to cover not only rent, but your basic needs, too, when a one-bedroom apartment in Huntsville is listed for $1,200 to $1,400 a month, plus utilities, and you must compete in a rental market where the vacancy rate is zero(2)? Our community needs action.

Our team at Community Living Huntsville is rising to the challenge – but we need help.

We are responding to the crisis with new community-based housing initiatives and innovative community partnerships to increase access to safe, secure, and affordable homes for people and families we support. That includes:

These are only a few examples. We continue to explore new opportunities and partnerships, too, with more action on the horizon. With sufficient resources, we hope to:

  • expand our Transitional Housing Initiative to support unhoused young women
  • increase our ability to provide community-based housing supports and services to a growing number of community members in need
  • acquire property for a community-based six-plex
  • build more community partnerships to increase affordable and accessible community-based housing supply in our community

Many of these new and innovative solutions rely on fundraised dollars, donations, and charitable grants. Unrelenting need drives us.

The District of Muskoka has declared a homelessness emergency for our region. As the district notes: “Since 2019, the number of people in our community requiring help for emergency and transitional housing has doubled. The number of shelter nights has increased by 607 percent from 2019 to 2022, and the cost for the shelter nights has increased by 510 percent from 2019 to 2022.”(3) More than 600 people and families sit on a wait list for affordable housing across Muskoka.(4)

According to provincial Developmental Services organizations, conditions are particularly difficult for people with developmental disabilities. 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.(5)

Our communities are stronger when everyone is respected and included as a valued and contributing member. Contact Jennifer Jerrett, Community Engagement Specialist, Community Living Huntsville, at or 705-380-4153 to find out how you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of your fellow community members. Learn more at

Community Living Huntsville is a not-for-profit, registered charity that supports and advocates alongside more than 300 people with developmental disabilities, and their families, to live, work, and play in unique and purposeful ways in North Muskoka. Learn more at Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.


  1. Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (2023). Social Assistance: Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). URL:
  2. Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (2022). Rental Market Statistics Summary by Metropolitan Areas, Census Agglomerations and Cities. URL:
  3. Callaghan, M., and Daleman, S. (2023). Declaration of Emergency for Homelessness. URL:
  4. District of Muskoka (2023). Community and Planning Services Committee Orientation: Housing and Homelessness. URL:
  5. Keshen, B., Gladstone, G., and Starr, E. (2022). OBRC Housing and DS Business Issues [PowerPoint Slides]. Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs, Community Living Toronto, and Reena.
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