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Connecting and Networking

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    Alexandra Shannan

      Hi all, I’m a Housing Navigator with DSO in Toronto and I’ve been hearing from lots of people I’m speaking with, that they are looking for opportunities to connect with others who are striving towards independent living for themselves, or someone they care for and support.

      If you are looking to connect with others who are on a similar path, I invite you to post below. Perhaps include where you are located and some of the topics you are most interested discussiong, learning more about…


        Hello, I am the father of a 26 year old man on the spectrum. Our biggest concern is getting him into a viable living situation as his mother and I are aging and we cannot afford to stay in our house much longer.

        We are fortunate to have a potential room mate lined up, but a third person might make the transition less expensive. Three sharing a 3 bedroom may be more economical than 2 sharing a 2 bedroom.

        Always open to suggestions.

        Bruce Rosebrugh


          Hi Bruce

          I am a parent who has a daughter with down syndrome and have had a keen interest in sustainable housing and creating a home for my daughter for decades now. I was part of the Housing Task Force a few years ago as well. There is a facebook page called Post Ontario Developmental Services Housing Task Force, this is a great resource.
          My daughter has lived in her own home for 11 years with the same roommate. We tried for many years to have a 3rd roommate and it never worked, for many reasons. One thing to think about is that the more people involved the increase in having issues to work out. If you are in Toronto, I would suggest you contact the LIGHTS program with Community Living Toronto. The website is They sometimes have opportunities for places with cheaper rent, or can help you find out places that have good landlords. I also run a group called Scarborough Residential Alternatives that is family based network to help families get together and figure out possibilities. it is , I am in the process of revamping, so if you take a look, let me know what you would like to see on the page.



            Hello Bruce.
            My name is Petra & I’m a planner with Community Living Toronto. I’m not sure if you’ve hear of person directed planning? It would allow Bruce, yourself, your wife, & whoever else Bruce might want to invite, to spend a couple of hours together (remotely now) going over what Bruce has done with his life up till now, his good qualities, likes & valued roles, what his dream for his future is, what supports he has in place & if they’ll continue, any barriers that might make it difficult to achieve his dreams, & then as a group, come up with an action plan that can help move his dream forward & reduce or eliminate some of the barriers. If there are any additional resources that we know of that might be of use, we would share those as well.
            Such a plan could help further develop your current housing plans as well as ensuring that your son’s quality of life will continue in all areas of his life.
            If you’re interested in speaking to me re. this I can be reached at 647-302-4818

            Alexandra Shannan

              Hi Bruce,

              I have spoken to a few other families in the past serveral weeks, who are in a similar position with regards to their concern and eagerness to get things moving.
              Is there a specific geographic area/neighbourhood of Toronto that your son is looking to move to? I wonder if there may be others with similar intentions. Perhaps they’ll join in here.

              Hi Bonnie and Petra! Thanks for adding to the conversation 🙂


                Thanks everybody for your input!

                Toby and his prospective roommate (I haven’t got permission to mention names) are looking to locate in North York. They need to be near transit to get to work, Toby downtown and roomy in North York.

                Thanks for the input regarding the third wheel. I honestly think that is what would happen in a three person dynamic. But we keep our minds open.

                As for moving forward, Toby and roomy are Lights clients and are currently doing the L’Arche TIFS programme. So far so good. I think we’re hoping to get the boys into an apartment next spring, before TIFS ends, so that questions an problems can be ironed out with professional help.

                And yes, I too have to get a few more people on to this chat to increase the networking possibilities.



                Hello everyone,
                My name is Angelica and I work with a 29 year old autistic man named Zack. Zack is mostly self sufficient in his day to day but will never work and will most likely always need supervision for leaving the house.
                Recently, Zack’s father and I moved him into a house which is divided into 3 rental apartments. Zack lives on the top floor with our former housekeeper and she takes him to and from his day program.
                Zack lived in a group home for a couple of years and it was decided it was not a good fit for him, as it is too disruptive. Now that his father is getting older, we have started looking at ways of ensuring a stable future, especially his residency. The house is where we started.
                Because of the pandemic we had to scramble with everything being turned upside down (officially bought the house the day the lockdown was announced!). Going forward we were hoping to find a roommate/housemate for the other apartments and for Zack.
                It’s a completely renovated house with top of the line security, access to TTC, grocery stores etc. We chose it with the ideology that if something ever happened to us, Zack would still be able to live his life the way he did and still live at his house. The house is located on Avenue Road near Eglinton.
                We don’t have a concrete idea of what we’re looking for, we just figured if the right fit came along, we would work something out together.

                Alexandra Shannan

                  Hi Angelica,

                  Thanks for sharing and adding to the thread!


                  Mike Adair

                    Hi all,

                    I’ve been reading over your posts and am pleased to see people are taking advantage of this great resource!

                    I’ve spoken to some of you already but for those who don’t know me, my name is Mike and I am one of the Senior Facilitators in LIGHTS. I thought I’d build on Bonnie’s post and reiterate that Zoe and I are always open to chat and can assist with planning, problem solving, and providing resources as you move forward in your housing journey 😊

                    If you’d like to see if we can assist you, feel free to e-mail us at or if you’d like, reach out to me directly on this forum. You can also find some more information about LIGHTS here:

                    I look forward to connecting with you!


                      This is an interesting website re: affordable Housing

                      Affordable Housing Listing

                      Alexandra Shannan

                        I send a weekly email with this list of “affordable” rentals, if anyone is interested in being added to the list of recipients, send me an email:

                        It’s important to remember that the list is compiled based on the cost of the rental and no pre-screening is completed, prior to adding the listing to the list.


                          Hello everyone,

                          My name is Rose and I have a 22 year old son and a 21 year old daughter on the spectrum. I am at a very early stage (just starting really) in tackling housing and trying to see and understand the vision of a home that my children would envision for themselves as well as understand the different options and obstacles that exist. The support pieces are going to be critical. I think that is the same for everyone. I am happy to have heard about this online forum and hope to see conversations continue in the new year. With any luck, the delays and uncertainty being caused by the pandemic will hopefully begin to lift and dissipate in the coming months. I will start by working through the Housing Toolkit, which I understand has been updated recently. Our family lives in Vaughan and our housing search will start there. I look forward to connecting to others in this forum!

                          Alexandra Shannan

                            Hi Rose, thanks for introducing yourself! I too look forward to seeing if we can use this forum as a way to connect, network and share resources. You are right, we have made some updates to the DSO Housing Toolkit ( Updates include (but are not limited to) the addition of an Excel budgeting tool and changes to the My housing and support plan document. We are currently working on a Podcast series and are looking forward to further improving the Toolkit in the new year.

                            If there are particular topics that people are interested in, or resources you would like to see included here, please share.


                              Hey Rose, Great to see more people connecting here. Alex’s programs are super, but it’s difficult to have a personal conversation in a Zoom group.

                              It’s never too early to start with this process. I wish I had started earlier… While you’re doing the toolkit make sure you don’t make any assumptions for your kids. You have to be practical but make sure you include them in your planning. I’ve made some assumptions I’ve had to walk back with my son. Nothing serious, just that he needed me to involve him with the plan.

                              Anyway, contact me any time if you’d like to talk. I am not a smart resource like Alex, but I listen well and then mansplain to solution to your problems really well.


                                Hi Bruce,
                                I wish I had started earlier too. I guess I thought things would suddenly get easier and clearer at some point and then I would see things clearly and somehow things would fall magically into place. That was me thinking as a parent and in a totally protective and defensive role. Unfortunately when you assume that mindset you fail to step back and see your children as the people they are and you fail to step aside and let them move forward. I walk alongside them not in front. So you are right when you say they must be front and centre to their own planning. I hope there will be many conversations in 2021 about housing and I look forward to them and making 2021 a year of hope and success. Look forward to speaking with you.

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