May 2015 - Guelph, ON
Guelph Independent Living Completes Construction on Two New Accessible Modified Units at Willow Place
Guelph Independent Living (GIL) is pleased to announce the completion of construction on two new modified units in their Willow Place apartment building in order to make them fully accessible for tenants with mobility challenges. Construction on the units included removing walls to allow for better maneuverability for tenants who use wheelchairs or scooters, installing accessible appliances and cabinets, and constructing entirely new washrooms and showers. These two new modified units bring the total number of accessible units at Willow Place up to 23.
Since 1984, GIL has been providing 24-hour supportive housing and attendant services to adults with physical disabilities. These services are designed to assist clients to maintain their independence and remain in the home of their choice. Throughout the organization’s history, a shortage of modified housing with access to 24-hour support services has been repeatedly identified. GIL has, for years, had a lengthy wait list of adults with physical disabilities looking for housing combined with attendant services. Currently there is a waitlist of 37 individuals; several sitting on the list for over eight years. With an average turnover rate of 1-2 units per year there are few success stories, but GIL is pleased to be able to add to that list. GIL spoke with the tenant of one of the new modified units, Sherry Windmill, whose struggle to find suitable housing was featured in the Guelph Mercury in January 2014 (http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/4345398-guelph-woman-finds-home-after-six-months-of-searching/ ). “Accessible units are hard to come by, so I was very fortunate to get this one because for years I’ve looked for something in Guelph and there’s just nothing out there…. Guelph needs a lot of accessible living” she said. She also stated that she is very appreciative that she was able to provide input on what went into the unit, such as the oven which has a door that opens side to side making it easier to access - “with everything being accessible for me it gives me back a lot of independence.”
GIL is funded through the County of Wellington for affordable housing and the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) for support services to the disabled and senior population. In early 2014, GIL received one-time funding through the WWLHIN allocated towards renovation costs to modify additional units at Willow Place for residents requiring accessible housing; with the ultimate goal of increasing 24-hour supportive housing services in Wellington. Approval for the two additional modified units at Willow Place was received through the County of Wellington Housing Services and County Council. Beginning in April 2015, GIL also received a base funding increase through the WWLHIN to provide 24-hour attendant services to the new clients moving into the new modified units. Adults with physical disabilities have a right to affordable, modified housing and 24-hour attendant services, but this right is limited by the low number of units available with support services. It is the hope of these contributing organizations that these two additional modified units at Willow Place will assist in minimizing this shortage and alleviate some of the challenges Guelph residents face in accessing affordable, modified housing.
“We are pleased to make meaningful investments in Guelph to support independent living services that help residents who need these services to live safely and independently as active members of our community. “Sherry’s story is a great example of how these new services make a real difference.”
-Bruce Lauckner CEO WWLHIN
Established in 1975, GIL is a non-profit charitable agency providing personal care and support services to adults with permanent physical disabilities and seniors. GIL contributes to the community by decreasing emergency room visits, supporting early hospital discharges, relieving the need for long-term care, enabling independent living and unburdening primary caregivers. The organization provides Assisted Living, Attendant Outreach, Home Help, Seniors Assisted Living and Seniors Supported Living programs, as well as recreation and inclusion opportunities, to its clients. Additionally, the organization owns and maintains Willow Place, an 83-unit affordable housing complex, which also serves as an Assisted Living site.
For more information, please contact:
Communications & Privacy Officer
(519) 836-1812, ext. 33
(519) 836-1812, ext. 30
Web site: www.guelphindependentliving.org