Our biggest success to date is the establishment of Community Involvement Legacy Homes. In 2002 we recognized that we were facing a crisis. There was noaccessible/affordable housing available in Leeds and Grenville. We were getting older. As parents involved with the Brockville and District Association for Community Involvement we needed reassurance that our sons and daughters would have a home to live in, when we were no longer able to care for them. We knew that this issue was not a priority of the government or the community. Government funding was uncertain. Like other significant points in the history of the Community Living movement, we knew that we couldn't sit around and hope for someone else to do it for us. We knew we had to take action.
We are thirteen years older and time is moving fast. The biggest undertaking is behind us. Getting started was the hard part, as was getting people to agree on a "common vision".
- Now we have a common vision.
- We have support from the community.
- We just purchased our forth property.
- We have submitted an application to the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville for funding to purchase four houses over two years.
- A number of other families have made commitments and have entered into a planning process.
On with the next challenge…… who will be the next to buy a house?
Marlene now in her fifties, is very proud of her home. She lives in an apartment building in a nice neighbourhood where for the first time in her life she feels safe and secure. She goes for walks, decorates her balcony with flowers, proudly displays her artwork and keeps her apartment neat and tidy. She invites her family to spend weekends and has even made friends with several of the neighbours.
Her life today differs greatly from the nightmare of her youth. Marlene has lived in almost every form of segregated housing available. She has lived in foster care, group homes, locked institutional wards, friend’s couches, social housing and low income rental apartments. Sometimes she even had to sleep on the streets. She has experienced many episodes of victimization, homelessness and abuse.
From 2003-2008 Marlene was living in a basement apartment. When her health began to deteriorate, she could no longer manage the stairs. A group of people who knew her well met with her, to help her figure out her ideal living situation. Marlene came up with a list of requirements and a suitable place was found. Community Involvement Legacy Homes purchased it on Marlene’s behalf, and on November 19, 2008 (a date she still celebrates every year with a party) Marlene happily moved into her new home.
“This is the nicest place that I have ever lived!”