Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in their community. Living in your own home; choosing where and with whom you live, and forming social relationships are fundamental to being part of society.
For people with an intellectual disability and their families, this is no different. LIGHTS is an option for families to explore who are interested in helping their family member start a life outside the family home.
What is LIGHTS?
LIGHTS is a unique program which has been created by community leaders in partnership with Community Living Toronto to address the very significant shortage of independent and appropriate housing for intellectually disabled citizens in Toronto. Its goal is to enable new housing opportunities to flourish for the intellectually disabled, and to share its blueprint for success with other communities across the country. Learn more
By: Mary-Pat Armstrong
In November 2014, 110 families have joined LIGHTS on their journey towards independence. More than 24 young men and women with intellectual disabilities have completed the process, and are living independently with LIGHTS support.
Alex is one of them. He moved into his own home last summer. In his 30's; loves music, dancing, and bowling; plays the guitar; rides horses; and works four days a week in two Coffee Sheds, one at Surrey Place Centre and one at George Brown College.
When he opens the door of his apartment to me, his beaming smile lights up the hallway. He invites me in, takes my coat, introduces me to his brother Jamie, and then, with great pride, shows me his new home—the kitchen, the living room, and the amazing view from his bedroom. (He lives on one of the top floors in his building.)
Alex is a thoroughly engaging young man and host. With occasional support from his brother, Alex explains that their mother died four years ago. His father has serious health problems, and his sister and brother have both moved out of the family home. Now it was his turn to set out on his own.
The prospect frightened Alex. He needed time to prepare, and he needed money. But as 2013 rolled around, Alex had made up his mind. He wanted to find a job he liked, which he has since done, and he wanted to move into his own place. Read more