My co-operative living arrangement

by Tamara Russell

“I am learning to be more independent and take on responsibilities.” – Tamara Russell

My name is Tamara Russell. I have been living in B.C. for close to 17 years. The things that are most important to me are my independence, having a job, family and friends, and belonging in my community.

I feel like over the years things have gotten better for people with disabilities. My voice is being heard and my choices are being respected by CLBC, doctors, and my family. There are more employment opportunities and I feel the community is more aware and supportive of persons with disabilities.

I also feel lucky to live in what I call ‘co-operative living’ here in Parksville. CLBC uses the term Home Sharing, but I like using ‘co-operative living’ because it feels more respectful for the independent person I am. I live in my own suite that is attached to a family home. I come and go as I choose, but have the support of my co-operative family when I need them. I don’t have cooking facilities but I have a microwave and a fridge. My dinners are given to me by the family I share my home with. This kind of arrangement is successful for me as I am learning to be more independent and take on responsibilities and learning to save my money and budget.

For life to continue getting better for people with diverse abilities we need opportunities to be independent. We need affordable places to live in our communities.

I am really blessed because I have a co-operative family that truly care about me and my life. I love the environment, their horses, how close it is to town and they are an amazing family. I have been living with my co-operative family for almost five years now and I don’t anticipate it ever changing.

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