The Mental Illness Caregivers Association (MICA) is an association of caregivers working together to ensure awareness of, and access to, resources that provide meaningful support for themselves and lifelong care for their loved ones living with mental illnesses.
MICA believes more needs to be done to ensure persons living with mental illnesses have access to a safe place to live while allowing them to make choices that meet their needs and personal wishes. In order to better understand the challenges being faced by caregivers as they consider housing options for their family, we decided to proceed with the development of a case study based on the experience of one family living in the Ottawa region.
It is not about ‘one size fits all’ but rather providing the context for discussion as the mental illness caregiver community attempts to manage what is becoming more and more urgent, namely providing for sustainable housing options after we (caregivers) are gone.
We should add here that the challenges going forward are significant as housing in Ottawa is extremely hard to come by and hard to maintain for folks on the margins. It costs too much for anyone on assistance, and even with additional supplements it’s almost impossible to find new housing stock.
Finally, financial shortfalls have left far too many unhoused and untreated. Waiting lists are interminable and funding is slow to increase.
In the context of the above we decided to proceed with a project focused on supporting mental illness and development disability caregivers as they plan for and implement housing solutions for their loved ones living with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities.
To get things started we asked caregivers to share their concerns as they prepared for when they are gone or no longer able to support their family member – WHAT WE HEARD
A PROJECT TEAM was brought together with the intent of addressing the gaps identified by caregivers during the consultation. The members of the project team include representation from Canadian Mental Health Association, Developmental Services Ontario, Ottawa-Carleton Lifeskills Incorporated, Persona Law Group, Reach Canada, and Equity Financial Services.
As a first step, the Project Team decided to develop A PLANNING FRAMEWORK that captures what was heard while ensuring housing plans being developed by caregivers for the person(s) they care for are supported by planning that provides for continued access to personal supports as well as the estate, financial and property management services required to support viable and sustainable housing solutions that are safe and secure as follows:
A planning framework based on on providing for continued access to mental health services and programs when caregivers are no longer there as trusted natural supports to assist them in providing for:
Take a few moments to listen to the messages shared by Martha Beach of Developmental Services Ontario
A PLANNING FRAMEWORK based on managing the caregiver’s home as an asset and as such presents several planning options including some of the challenges to be addressed with respect to ensuring financial sustainability and continued property management from on-going maintenance to required renovations and home improvements.
In order to ensure we got it right the Project Team asked a caregiver to assist in preparing a CASE STUDY based on using the proposed planning framework to develop a plan that provides for the housing needs of their family members.
In addition to the above, the Project Team asked the caregiver WHAT SUPPORT the family member would require to implement and maintain their housing plan.
In response to one family’s plan outlined in the case study and in collaboration with its partners, MICA has agreed to take the lead in exploring the possibility of establishing a CAREGIVER RESOURCE CENTRE that:
Lets get in touch. Send us a message:
19 Colonnade Road, P.O. Box 5065, Ottawa, ON, K2G 4V8, canada
Phone: (613) 884-6422
Hours: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EST