"What drives my work is to always ensure that the people we support have a voice. I want to ensure that people who don’t always get a say in their day-to-day lives still get to make decisions whenever they can and that our work isn’t just about day-to-day care to ensure the person is physically healthy and safe, but that their mental and emotional needs are also at the forefront."
The Intensive Support Settings (ISS) Program provides services for people who require 24-hour supports in all aspects of daily living. People supported in ISS are considered to have complex care needs. In addition to having a developmental disability, individuals in ISS often need support as a result of a physical impairment, higher medical needs, or a Dual Diagnosis.
ISS originated in the 1970s and was called Group Living. The creation of Group Living was in response to a social movement that had people leaving large, centralized institutions and returning to their home communities and to the security of their families and their neighbours. In many situations, people had been living in institutions since childhood. Many years later, ISS is just one of a number of available options through KACL that provide support for adults with complex needs. Since the peak of Group Living in the early 90’s, this program has significantly decreased in size, as the Host Family program expanded.
ISS supports individuals through a framework that incorporates the individual’s gifts, talents, interests and their complex needs into their individual support plan. ISS has a team made up of Community Support Workers (CSW’s), Supervisors , a Registered Nurse and two Managers who work together with the individual and their families to ensure that their needs are met and the individual is living the best life they can through opportunities to participate in activities they enjoy throughout their community.
Individuals supported in ISS live either with a roommate who is also supported in ISS or they live in their own home in the community. Community Support Teams are committed to foster comfortable, enjoyable home environments that reflect the tastes, interests, and personalities of those who live there. They assist people with their personal care needs and to look after the daily responsibilities of running a home. It is the mission of ISS support teams to offer opportunities for people to explore, engage and learn with their community and to nurture relationships with family, friends and acquaintances.
Being part of a Community Support Team requires the CSW to be very mindful of their work responsibilities while ensuring the individuals they are supporting have their voices heard, are empowered to make their own choices, and have opportunities to do the things they love to do.
The ESIL program has been a part of KACL’s models of support for over 20 years. The program represents a diverse, adult demographic, spanning a wide range of ages, abilities, health, interests, experiences, and resources. In response to such diversity, supports are tailored to the individual, fitted to be sensitive to the various and unique needs of each person. Individuals reside in their own homes, alone or with a roommate, with service delivered through a model that encourages self-determination and independence. Supports are suited to those who are not in need of 24-hour continuous care.
Relationships are at the heart of the work. Members of the team make an investment of time and deep listening to discover opportunities to enrich the lives of those supported. Taking time to really get to know people forms the foundation for Individual Support Plans. Individual Support Plans are drafted through a bio/psycho/social lens to ensure balance that considers the well-being of whole person. Each individual, or individual along with family or friends, co-actively determine the elements of their support arrangement in collaboration with members of the ESIL team. Each person receiving service, is assigned a Community Consultant who oversees facilitation, documentation, ongoing conversation, and revision of the arrangements.
Supports are available from a long and varied, person-centered list and no two plans are the same. These supports can be as infrequent monthly help with finances or to attend medical appointments, weekly set-up medications or as frequent as daily support with meal preparation or housekeeping. While supporting this daily living activities ESIL provides emotional care when needed, encouragement and opportunity to explore interests and support to nurture and maintain relationships with friends and family, and much, much more.
The variety and nature of support is never static, rather, it continues to change and flow with people’s lives and dreams. Support affirms normal rhythms of living and is available during the day, in the evening, and on weekends. Many people have jobs or do community volunteer work. Some are retired and engaged in other interests. Some need very little assistance while others, especially at times of illness or other major life events, require more intensive services.
The ESIL team act as mentors, with the driving goal of growing confidence and skills. Emphasis is focused on the development of social opportunities that move people deeper into the life of their community, so that they may be known, engaged, and experienced in what relational life offers. ESIL team members make every effort to encourage people to lead full lives, lives of fun, meaning, and joy.
Throughout Life’s Journey …
…there are many transitional periods. For young adults experiencing disability this time is no different. They too are coming to terms with newfound independence and freedom and with the responsibility to care for themselves and to create a life of their own choosing. For those without close, supportive family relationships, this era of life can become overwhelming. One of the most significant times is found in between youth and adulthood. During this time, we are faced with important questions and decisions – How will I support myself? Where will I live? Will I live alone? Will I start a family? Who will I become? It is a time of opportunity.
At the beginning of 2010, KACL experienced an increase in individuals requiring and requesting services, flooding our agency with referrals. Majority of supports being requested were for youth turning 18 years of age. In 2015, this meant the creating of a new program called Transitional Age Youth (TAY). As the program continued to grow, in November 2020 the program name would change again and separate into two, newly called Outreach SIL and Intensive SIL.
The OSIL and ISIL Programs are holistic in their approach, value a person’s story, and provide opportunities to learn and practice cultural traditions. The OSIL and ISIL teams focus on identity as a source of strength and a place of healing, knowing that what is said is not as important as how people are made to feel. Supporting people to have significant experiences where they feel valued unconditionally, build character, gain strengths, and are empowered in their own lives is at the heart of the work done. It is important they have meaningful encounters with success, belonging and voice, and their own basic goodness. To provide support and witness the direct positive impact it has on enhancing people’s lives is meaningful to all involved.
Building and maintaining strong, positive relationships is what drives our team to be deeply committed and supportive through these pivotal stages and where the OSIL and ISIL Programs does it’s best to help people with complex needs to navigate their own path.
Utilizing person-centered planning, the One Plan Consultant schedules, organizes, and facilitates One Plan discussions for individuals funded through Developmental Services. These facilitated conversations gather and share information amongst the focus person and their team of staff and natural support networks. Through Core Gift discovery, social role valorization, and strengths and interests, the individual is supported by their team to develop and plan their vision of the future.
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 for those who were seeking a support arrangement that was better aligned with more natural life rhythms than the group homes of the era. Many people supported have benefitted from having access to this option.
Host Family arrangements are individualized. 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. For example, sometimes a strong bond developed with a KACL staff member, a previous foster parent, or 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 facilitated by a KACL Host Family Advisor. They meet with everyone, prepare the agreement, and do home visits every two months. The commitments are reviewed annually, provided all parties agree to continue. Funds are released to the person requiring support and they contribute financially to the integrity and well-being of their living arrangement. Host Family Advisors are available on an ongoing basis to offer support to any number of challenges or significant life events.
While in a Family Home arrangement, people supported can and do remain connected (or reconnect) to biological family or previous foster families. 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.
The Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) and the Kenora Association for Community Living (KACL) recognize that homelessness is a serious issue in our region and believe that all individuals and their families should have access to a safe, affordable, and supportive home. KDSB and KACL have agreed to explore and pursue joint activities that will result in the reduction of poverty, homelessness, and improve the health outcomes for the most vulnerable community members in Kenora.
This program is intended to provide housing subsidies and increase tenancy success for persons experiencing chronic homelessness, suffering with serious mental illness and addictions. The subsidies are designed to work with the private sector housing market, as well as with a system of appropriate mental health, developmental services, and addictions networks.
Prior to the acceptance of the application, applicant must provide KDSB and KACL with all required documentation. We work with a network of landlords and agencies to help find housing and to assist in maintaining existing housing.
KDSB and KACL recognize the Housing First model and use many strategies to ensure each person remains successful in their home.
Inquiries and completed applications can be emailed to HomesforGood@kacl.ca or faxed to 807-467-5259.
The Board and Employees of KACL gratefully acknowledge that we live, work, enjoy the richness of and play on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe people of Treaty 3, and on the homeland of the Metis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Metis ancestors of this place and reaffirm that the historic and current relationship that exists between us is defined by Treaty.
We commit to work to create the conditions for belonging and social justice so that each person can live fully in the unique identity that matters to them, in a community that accepts and welcomes. We recognize that our work must be in the service of Reconciliation. Our work must be at the level of the individual and the community, so that our collective identity as a community lives up to the values we want for ourselves and our children. A community where equity, peace, and respect for cultural differences are respected and nourished; and a community that acknowledges that the early Anishinaabe people of these lands saw we were strangers, welcomed us as guests, and invited us to stay as neighbours.