The over 100,000 Canadians with intellectual disabilities in need of affordable, quality housing and flexible supports to enable their full community inclusion can find some hope in a national housing report released in Ottawa today. The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation launched the report, titled What We Heard: Shaping Canada’s National Housing Strategy. It draws on ideas from the ‘Let’s Talk Housing’ national consultation with thousands of Canadians and organizations. The report’s guiding principles and strategies emphasize key priorities for Canadians with intellectual disabilities and their families, including strategies that: respect people’s housing rights, including the right to choose your own home; result in inclusion; and connect affordable housing to community supports, school and jobs so people can participate in their communities, be safe and lift out of poverty.

Joy Bacon, President of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), which actively participated in the consultation and submitted a brief on housing needs, said: “Renewed federal government leadership for affordable housing and community inclusion is long overdue. Thousands of Canadians with intellectual disabilities and their families desperately need affordable housing and community supports that result in inclusion. This report gets the direction right. Now, we urge the government to line up the investments, develop the partnerships and activate its transformative potential.”

Michael Bach, CACL Executive Vice-President, who was at today’s launch, taking place on National Housing Day, said: “The Minister sent a very clear message. This government is committed to making housing markets and communities work for people, for all people and families. The government knows the solutions lie in local communities and appears committed to a national strategy to tap that potential. We’ve heard the message. It responds to the call for action by us and so many others. Let’s get to work.”

To help advance the right to housing in inclusive communities, CACL and People First of Canada have joined forces to launch ‘My Home My Community’. We promoted our ideas through the ‘Let’s Talk Housing’ consultation. And we are sharing success stories of people with intellectual disabilities who are blazing pathways to their own homes in inclusive communities. On this National Housing Day, we are pleased to share the story of Josh.