Developmental Services Housing Task Force

Update – December 2016

Partners For Planning is pleased to provide this plain language overview of 18 new housing projects presently underway with the Housing Task Force, each of which reflect and motivate new possibilities for change across the province.

The Housing Study Group of the joint Ministry of Community and Social Services/Developmental Services Sector partnership table, released a report in September 2013 entitled “Ending the Wait – an Action Agenda to Address the Housing Crisis Confronting Ontario Adults with Developmental Disabilities”. The report made several recommendations, including the creation of a Capacity-Building Task Force (“Task Force”).

Over the course of a two-year mandate (2014/15 – 2015/16), the Task Force will:

  • Develop a framework for capacity-building projects and identify demonstration projects for possible government investment and evaluation, some of which would be drawn from the Housing Study Group’s survey findings.
  • Recommend a minimum of five “initiative projects” for implementation in 2014/15, at least three of which should be drawn from proposals captured by the Housing Study Group’s survey.
  • Identify performance indicators for monitoring progress to achieve identified targets.
  • Develop web-based resources to help individuals and families access information, network, collaborate and support each other in exploring and creating successful housing solutions.

The Task Force will provide recommendations to the Ministry of Community and Social Services for review and feedback by the Partnership Table.
Click here for the Terms of Reference

Highlights of Housing Task Force Work

Ontario’s Developmental Services Housing Task Force is welcoming proposals for original housing projects for adults with developmental disabilities.

The Task Force is looking for creative, inclusive and cost-effective housing solutions that can be replicated in communities across the province. The best ideas will be funded as research and demonstration projects through the 2014 Ontario Budget investment for developmental services. in English, and in French.

Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs English , FAQs French

A conversation with the Developmental Services Housing Task Force (webcast)

Presented by Housing Task Force members Ron Pruessen, Leslie O’Reilly and Bonnie Heath

Find out about:

  • How the Developmental Services Housing Task Force was formed and its mission.
  • The First round proposal process, how the proposals were scored and their status.
  • The Developmental Service Housing Task Force submission to the Ministry of Municipal.
  • Affairs and Housing’s Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy.
  • The Second round fall proposal process.

Interest High for New Housing Options

Jul 14, 2015 – Posted by Justin dePass, Marketing & Communications Coordinator.

Members of the Developmental Services Housing Task Force met last month to complete their deliberations regarding proposals for creative and sustainable solutions to the housing crisis in the Developmental Services Sector. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 adults with intellectual disabilities in need of residential supports.

80 proposals were submitted as part of the first round of the Expression of Interest (EOI) process. For the last six weeks, the Task Force has been reviewing the proposals to determine which ones should be passed on to the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) for final approval.

Update Friday spoke with Ron Pruessen, Chair of the Housing Task Force, about the review process. “We were overwhelmed with the amount of great ideas and projects that were submitted. It was almost frustrating because we knew that with our limited funding, we wouldn’t be able to consider all of them,” says Pruessen.

With an annual budget of $3 million, the Task Force hopes to provide funding to the projects that prove to be effective responses to tackling the current waitlist of people who require residential services.

The proposals that were selected by the Task Force have been referred to MCSS with the expectation that several of the proposals will be approved for future funding.

The Housing Task Force has a second EOI planned for the fall and will be accepting new proposals. “Our plan is to set a deadline for the second round of proposals for the fall in order to fully utilize the funding provided for this fiscal year,” says Pruessen.

“In this particular EOI process, we were focusing on sustainable, creative ideas that could help leverage the funding from MCSS for housing supports and residential programs. We did not want to look at things that were already being done.”

In addition to the funding, the two tiered proposal process was developed so that the Housing Task Force could grant people and organizations enough time to fine tune their submissions and to ensure that all of their creative ideas were taken into consideration.

In the future, the Housing Task Force is looking to access the expertise, experience and the resources of other ministries, in particular the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Health. Pruessen believes that there is an underlying assumption that MCSS solely carries the burden of handling residential supports, when in fact there should be several other ministries involved with solving the housing crisis.

“Starting in September, there will be a very intensive push on how government efforts address these housing issues.”

Another key objective for the Housing Task Force is to secure for more funding from the government. With the amount of proposals and ideas that are being submitted, Pruessen believes more funding will give the Housing Task Force the ability to make more of the ideas and proposals a reality.

If you or someone you know is interested in submitting an Expression of Interest in the fall, visit the Housing Task Force website here for more information.

Atlas on the Primary Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario

CAMH is a medical facility in the City of Toronto. It has completed a medical assessment of Adults with Developmental Disabilities. This is their documentation of that process. CAMH Atlas of Adults with Developmental Disabilities 2013

Select Committee on Developmental Services Final Report – Inclusion and Opportunity: A New Path for Developmental Services in Ontario

The Select Committee was developed to investigate the effectiveness of the Developmental Services in Ontario. The committee was made up of Members of Parliament. Here is a copy of their report. Select Committee Development Services Final Report 2014

Ontario Auditor General’s report on the Residential Services for People with Developmental Disabilities

Residential Services for People with Developmental Disabilities – 2014

The Ontario Developmental Services Housing Task Force has been investigating new ways to help individuals with finding a home. Part of this investigation includes looking at how other countries manage their developmental services. Australia has been one of the countries many have admired. Here is some of their documentation.

Why the National Disability Insurance Scheme (DisabilityCare Australia) makes economic sense

Government of Australia Why-the-NDIS-makes-economic-sense

Government of Australia – Disability Care and Support – Productivity Commission Inquiry Report 2011

Government of Australia – Disability Care and Support Commission – 2011

SharedLivesPlus – The UK Network for Shared Lives and Homeshare

Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for family-based and small-scale ways of supporting adults. Their members are Shared Lives carers and workers, and Homeshare programmes.

This program gives a different way of doing things. In the UK they call developmental disabilities – learning disabilities.

Housing Task Force Findings in Ontario

Dorvict Home & Health Care Services

Permanent and Temporary Staff Placement Agency
Dorvict Home and Health Care Services provides in-house, community and health support services to children, adults and seniors. Our expertise is in the areas of developmental, mental and physical disabilities. We also provide services to youths in crisis and people with challenging behaviours.

Beaver Barracks

In 2008 Families Matter Cooperative, Ottawa, during the design stage, developed a relationship with CCOC- Beaver Barracks – An Affordable, Accessible, Sustainable Project. The hope was to ensure individuals with developmental disabilities would have access to affordable units in this mixed community. In 2012 six – seven adults moved into their own apartments, supported by LiveWorkPlay.
Beaver Barracks Affordable Accessible Sustainable

WDDS Alternative Housing and Supports

In 2010, WDDS identified the need for additional support and housing models beyond the traditional Group Living and SIL in response to the Ministry’s statement that “Group home living is too expensive”1 and that some people are over supported in this arrangement. WDDS has since committed resources towards research of Alternative Models of Support and Housing. The research expanded beyond Canada to include: the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia.

Scarborough Residential Alternatives

Scarborough Residential Alternatives are parents of developmentally handicapped young adults. Because there are almost no funded residential places available for our children, we are examining ways to create our own residential alternatives for lifelong living arrangements. We are determined to successfully create the best possible living arrangements for our children, using all resources, governmental and otherwise, that are available to us. We welcome the participation of any parents or caregivers who find themselves in a similar situation and want to join us in building our children’s future.
Scarborough Residential Alternatives

Options for Homes

Options for Homes is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to providing cost-effective home ownership opportunities for everyone. For over 20 years, Options has been working with our purchasers to provide down payment help and save each household up to $50,000 off each suite. For more information on our new homes and how Options can help you to get into home ownership, visit Options for Homes

My Home My Choice

My Home My Choice is a three-year initiative designed to explore ways to better respond to the housing needs of people with intellectual disabilities. People with significant disabilities and more complex needs have traditionally been institutionalized. With the closure of large-scale institutions, group homes have become a prevalent service model for provision of residential support. While there are a range of options and supports provided under group home arrangements there is growing recognition that the usual approaches to funding, staffing and delivery are not designed to maximize individual choice and mobility.

The overall purpose of the project is to increase the capacity of community service providers to assist adults with intellectual disabilities and more complex needs to move from group home arrangements to supported living in the community. The project engages local organizations in defining and executing transformation plans and uses an active research methodology to identify the process and key factors involved in making the shift from provision of group home based residential support to supported living in the community.

My Home My Choice is delivered and managed by the Canadian Association for Community Living in partnership with provincial partners including: Inclusion BC, New Brunswick Association for Community Living, Community Living Ontario, and Nova Scotia Association for Community Living. Six (6) local partners include the Langley Association for Community Living (BC); Restigouche Residential Services (NB); Parry Sound Community Living and Rygiel Support Services (Ontario) and Regional Residential Services and Breton Abilities Centre (Nova Scotia).

My Home CACL


Join The Ontario Developmental Housing Task Force Facebook Group


Getting ready for living independently

STEPS To Independence is a guidebook that provides an opportunity for individuals with an intellectual disability to determine how prepared they are for semi-independent living. It provides a holistic tool to help someone with their goal of living independently with supports by starting the conversation, identifying current skills, determining skill areas for improvement (where more learning can happen), and next steps to focus on.


MagnusCards image


MagnusCards is a free app that combines a proven method of instruction (Social Stories) with elements of game design to help people learn life skills. Read more >>

Residential Options

Various government funded residential supports are provided by community agencies that help people with a developmental disability. Individuals with a developmental disability and their families work with community agencies to find the kind of residential accommodation that works best for them. These include:

    Supported Group Living

    Three or more adults with an intellectual disability are living together. Paid supports are provided up to 24 hours every day depending on the support needs of the people living there. Support outcomes are aligned with each person’s individual support plan. Typically, people considering group living require some level of support at all times.

    Supported Independent Living

    Enables someone with an intellectual disability to live with or without a partner/room-mate. A caseworker enables the achievement of outcomes which are aligned with each person’s individual support plan and paid supports are available on a part-time basis to foster and maintain independence. Someone considering this option would have life skills necessary to live with occasional support for meals, money management and community engagement.

    Family Home Program (Supportive Home Share)

    Involves 1 or 2 adults with an intellectual disability living with a care giver who is not a family member. This is a room and board arrangement in which the care giver is available overnights if needed. A caseworker provides support to achieve outcomes which are aligned with each person’s individual support plan. Though daily support is dependent on the availability of the care giver, this living arrangement forms such close relationships that the person often becomes a part of the care giver’s life network of family and friends. For this reason, the matching process between the person and the care giver is essential to the success of this living arrangement.

There are waitlists for government funded residential supports in some areas of the province.
To apply contact Developmental Services Ontario


May be created when someone has individualized funds. Living arrangements may be similar to the models described above or may look different.

The Future Looks Bright: New Approaches to Making a Home for Someone with an Intellectual Disability

Highlights Reel (4:55)

This new movement calls for service providers, government and communities to partner with parents to address long residential wait lists (currently 2700 in Toronto alone) and create innovative, affordable and accessible residential housing and community participation supports.
Read more


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.

Visit the Lights site

Trying It On For Size – Elmira

Program of Elmira District Community Living

Finding answers require recognition of an individual’s skills, the things they already know how to do, and their potential…and ability…to learn more. Therefore, our purpose…the evaluation of independent living skills… is to recognize not only what a participant is capable of in order to live, but what are they willing to do to make living successful for them.

Long-Term Care: Reframing the Conversation