Creative city housing initiative gets green light

Pam Wright

Two men with developmental disabilities will soon have a new home, thanks to a pilot project involving three area agencies.

The home in south Sarnia is one step toward alleviating a dire lack of affordable housing for people with disabilities, said Tom McCallum, executive director of Lambton County Development Services.

The province recently approved $94,360 to help the residents with life skills and community integration.

“It’s a big piece,” McCallum said. “The provincial wait list for housing is getting huge.”

Habitat for Humanity is building the side-by-side, one-level structure with room for three bedrooms. It will feature wider hallways and doors and spacious bathrooms.

The other side of the dwelling will be home to an immigrant family.

“The two young men who found out they got the housing were ecstatic,” McCallum said of the collaborative project, called ‘A Devine Life.”

“Their families were ecstatic as well. Some of the caregivers for these men are in their 90s.”

Habitat executive director Sarah Reaume said none of the grant will be used for construction. Fundraising comes from workers who help build the house and other traditional sources.

“It’s a wonderful pilot project” that helps ensure quality care for the residents, she said.

The Circles anti-poverty program is to be the third part of the collaboration.

Developmental Services and Habitat have partnered on other builds before but this is the first in Sarnia.

The initiative is one of six the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ housing task force selected for funding this year.

The home is expected to be complete in September.