For David Broyles, living in his own apartment has meant a newfound sense of independence and community. “I like the place and the neighbourhood,” he says.
The opportunity to live independently arose through a new partnership between CLBC and BC Housing. Through the partnership, BC Housing has made six units in designated buildings available for individuals supported by CLBC. CLBC ensures that individuals who are interested in, and capable of living independently, are a good match with other tenants and have the support they need to live more independently. David is among the first four people to move as part of the pilot project. Previously, he was sharing a home with others but was interested in moving to a place of his own.
“As facilitators, we refer individuals who we think are a good match, and help with the referral application,” says Meaghen Taylor-Reid, a facilitator in CLBC’s Burnaby office.
Before an application is submitted, there is a lot of vetting to make sure the individual would be suited for the situation. When the CLBC Manager is satisfied that the person’s needs can be met in this supported living arrangement, and that the person is interested in the new situation, they will contract with a service provider to assist with life skills support. For David, CLBC connected with Spectrum Society for Community Living to provide support hours required to assist with his transition to more independent living.
“This means the individuals are really set for success, and a strong foundation has been laid to provide them with support in the transition,” says Meaghen. Once this preparation has taken place, the facilitator refers the individual to BC Housing. Next, a BC Housing coordinator meets with the individual and their support network to determine if they are suitable for the vacant apartment.
“The interview is very supported and BC Housing has been really receptive to the needs of individuals supported by CLBC,” says Meaghen.
As David was living in Surrey and moving to Burnaby, his application also involved coordination between two CLBC offices, “It’s such a well supported partnership, it goes quickly if the person is appropriate,” says Meaghen.
In March of this year, David moved to his own apartment in a BC Housing building in Burnaby. “It’s a great place,” says Meaghen. “There’s a really nice common room where many community activities like holiday parties take place. I see it being a really positive thing for him.”
David was supported through the moving process by Spectrum and had some help from friends with packing, moving and unpacking. Informal safeguards were put in place, such as introducing David to his neighbours, as well as defining expectations around guests and curfews. Spectrum has also provided support such as familiarizing David with laundry facilities in the building and helping him learn the local bus routes and nearby Skytrain stations.
To ensure everything is going well, there is a follow up interview two weeks after moving in. BC Housing, CLBC and Spectrum monitor the situation to ensure the new living situation is working. Since this is a new partnership, at the end of one year, CLBC and BC Housing will review satisfaction of each individual who has moved.
David is really enjoying his new place. He’s comfortable with the transit system and travels back and forth between home and the Simon Fraser Society for Community Living in New Westminster. He also takes part in inclusive sports and recreation classes through the City of Burnaby. When he’s having computer problems, he has a friend who comes by and gives him assistance.
“David has some really strong relationships. He’s taking care of himself, and he’s also looking at finding employment,” says Meaghen.
Celebrating his first Christmas in his new apartment, David has his tree and decorations set up and is planning a shopping trip to the nearby mall to get a present for his girlfriend. “I like it a lot. I really get along well with my neighbours and they all like me. I learned the area and all the bus routes for getting around. I’m very comfortable here now.”