Finding a home that fits
Research shows that having a child with a disability is linked with family poverty, so it’s no surprise that families of kids with disabilities are more likely to need affordable, accessible housing.

Bloorview Kids Rehab recently submitted a report to the City of Toronto — which is developing a 10-year affordable housing plan — to highlight the challenges facing local families.

Based on two focus groups, the report finds that Toronto families with children with disabilities are:

waiting up to 10 years and longer to get into affordable, accessible housing

living in inaccessible housing that is unsafe, overcrowded, limits children’s independence and in some cases consumes up to 75 per cent of the family income.

The anecdotal evidence from the focus groups was reinforced by research and a literature review that showed that this problem isn’t unique to Canada. In fact, we can learn a lot from the great work that has been done to improve accessible housing in the UK and within the European Union.

According to the Bloorview report, accessible housing in Toronto is often designed for single adults, so even when families make it to the top of the wait list, they don’t get the number of bedrooms they need or the wide spaces their child needs to use a wheelchair, walker, lift or hospital bed. One focus group family of five lived in a one-bedroom apartment. Another family — waiting for 13 years for accessible housing — was being threatened with eviction from a private rental because of damages caused by the child’s wheelchair. A third has to make a judgment call about whether to carry their child down 13 flights of stairs — a risk to the child and parent — during weekly fire alarms.

Bloorview’s report notes that accessible housing is linked with positive health and social outcomes for children and their families.

It recommends that accessible housing that meets the needs of these families become a priority in Toronto’s new housing plan and that the definition of ‘hard to house’ be expanded to include families of children with disabilities. Bloorview is continuing to meet with all levels of government to ensure that the needs of our families are not forgotten in housing policy.



Accessible family housing scarce, report says





Bloorview Kids Rehab | Bloorview’s Resource Centre