Houselink Community Homes
Organization profile published 1982
Year Published: 1982
Resource Type: Organization
Cx Number: CX2646
See also CX3015.
Connexions has published multiple abstracts on the Houselink Community Homes.
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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1982:
HOUSELINK COMMUNITY HOMES is the largest community-based alternative housing programme in Ontario. Developed as a non-profit volunteer organization in 1976, HOUSELINK develops and supports self-financed, unstaffed, affordable co-operative housing for people who have received psychiatric treatment. Currently the organization operates twelve co-ed, co-operative apartments, townhouses and houses across Metropolitan Toronto. Each co-operative accommodates four or five people who establish their own house rules and choose their own housemates. Residents may stay as long as they choose. Support is available to each co-operative from a volunteer house co-ordinator. Volunteers are selected for their ability to relate to people and be a friend. Their role is not that of an interventionist. Rather, they seek to foster and facilitate the independence of the house through social visits and house meetings.
HOUSELINK employs seven full-time staff who are selected on the basis of their commitment to alternative services and their experience in the mental health field. The organization is operated by its membership, which includes all current and former residents and other interested individuals who believe in the HOUSELINK objectives. At monthly open meetings, members are invited to raise, discuss, and make recommendations on policy matters to the Board of Directors. The Board is composed of 14 people, one third of whom must be resident, expatient members.
Unlike many other housing programmes, but consistent with HOUSELINK'S belief in residents' right to make their own decisions, HOUSELINK does not insist that its residents be involved in day-time activities. HOUSELINK believs that peer accountability and support, together with a feeling of personal autonomy are more positive motivators than agency rules and regulations. HOUSELINK does provide a social recreational programme, offering a variety of activities, which are planned and implemented by a committee comprised of residents and members.
HOUSELINK hopes to develop about eight more units by 1985. Consistent with the organization's commitment to co-operative housing, it is seeking to create some of these new units within larger co-operative development projects in Toronto. HOUSELINK has also purchased housing with assistance from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1984:
HOUSELINK COMMUNITY HOMES provides housing for people who have received psychiatric treatment in Metopolitan Toronto. The organization established to support co-operative residences that house three to five people each.
At present, 79 people live in 18 residences. Although the majority of houses are located in the City of Toronto proper, there are also houses in other boroughs and suburbs.
Each co-op is self-financed and managed. Residents pay rent directly to the landlord and, if required utilities are assumed by the residents in their names. usually a lease is not required but should a landlord request one, it is signed by one or more of the residents.
The model is based on a self-help principle. All decisions regarding the operation of the house are made by the group. A volunteer house co-ordinator is provided to those co-ops that request one. Tthe house co-ordinator acts as a facilitator, provides an "'outside" perspective on house issues and is available to the group in a crisis situation. Also, staff are available as back up to the volunteers.
Each co-op sets its own house rules and reserves the right to evict people who are disruptive or unco-operative. HOUSELINKS has only four non-negotiable rules: no late payment of rent or rent default, no drug or alcohol abuse, no physical violence and no illegal activity.
A resident advocacy program has been established to provide individual residents with volunteers who act as advocates on their behalf. these volunteers may also serve to play a social role.
Most of the housing stock is rented from private landlords but HOUSELINK has recently made forays into the non-profit housing sector. Currently two units are located within housing co-operatives; two units are owned by a municipal non-profit housing corporation; one is located iwthin a private non-profit housing corporation and three are owned by HOUSELINK (with financing through CMHC). Two five-bedroom allocations have recently been given to HOUSELINK for 1984.
The organizaiton is member controlled with a 14-member board of directors elected annually. One-third of the board must be residents/ex-psychiatric patients and plans are underway to increase this number to one-half.
HOUSELINKS attempts to provide both resident and non-resident members with an opportunity to interact within social/recreational context. Regular activities are planned and administered by a social-recreation council comprised of residents.