Host Family is an agreement in which a person needing support, and the person or persons providing support, share their home and their lives. It is founded on a core belief that, given the opportunity, people will live comfortably, learn from one another, freely share their lives and their relationships, care for one another, and contribute to each other's lives in a way that brings greater meaning, satisfaction and enrichment for everyone involved.
Originating in the 1990s as KACL Lifesharing, Host Family provided an alternative to Group Living for those who were seeking a support arrangement that was better aligned with more natural life rhythms. Many KACL consumers are now fortunate to access the care they require in this way.
Individual agreements are drafted based on the intensity of a person's care needs. Some people supported in this way require very little assistance, while others are considered to have complex needs. Successful arrangements exist at all levels of care and, given the right circumstances, the intensity of support required does not appear to exclude anyone from the possibility of a Host Family arrangement.
A Host Family living arrangement exists outside of the traditional service model used by KACL and begins with a previous connection between a KACL consumer and another party. Sometimes a strong bond has developed with a KACL staff member and sometimes with a community member. It is this relationship that forms the beginning of a Host Family conversation, where both parties agree that a shared living arrangement would be of mutual benefit. A strong social support network, enveloping the relationship, has been identified as a significant determinant to the ongoing success of these agreements.
Each Host Family living arrangement is assigned a Case Manager who facilitates, documents and oversees the provision of individual agreements. Agreements are forged between the person who requires support and the person who will have primary responsibility for ensuring that support. Funds are released to the person requiring support and they contribute financially to the integrity and well-being of their living arrangement. Agreements are annually reviewed in-depth to ensure that conditions remain amicable for both parties. Case Managers are available on an ongoing basis to offer support to any number of challenges or significant life events.
It is KACL's goal to honour and support the significant relationships of people's lives, where they can experience the natural benefits of family life, love, friendship and a sense of belonging.