The Pilot Project
The Right Fit was first launched as a three-year Pilot Project in 2017. Thanks to financial support from the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Rehab Foundation, Disability Alliance BC worked in partnership with the Individualized Funding Resource Centre and key provincial, regional, and community partners to better understand the roots of the problem and to test systemic strategies like inter-organizational collaboration and focused case management as a response to the crisis in wheelchair-accessible housing.
The Pilot specifically tested a new case management model to support and connect landlords and applicants, a standardized Accessibility Checklist, and streamlined approvals for the special equipment and home supports required for independent living in a new home.
The Pilot was also an opportunity for partners to learn more about systemic barriers to accessible housing, to strengthen inter- agency collaboration, and to raise awareness among key stakeholders.
The Pilot allowed project partners to deepen their knowledge of the target group as: people with complex physical disabilities who are poor, lacking in the life and social skills needed to manage the housing marketplace, isolated from robust social networks, unaware of possible entitlements, and bereft of necessary assistive technology.
This phase has led to the crucial realization that wheelchair users fall within the definition of homelessness by living precariously in inappropriate housing. They are the unseen and unserved component of the homeless population, who face daunting challenges to secure affordable, stable accessible housing.
From Pilot to Program
The Pilot phase served to build the infrastructure for the Right Fit to become a centre of excellence that will benefit people with disabilities, housing providers, planners and policy makers.
When the Pilot concluded in 2020, the Right Fit Steering Committee received funding to continue their work until 2022 through the federal Reaching Home Homelessness Initiative, the City of Vancouver’s Renter Office Grant program, and BC Housing. This funding has enabled the Right Fit to convert to a full-fledged program that now serves as a one-stop shop for all issues related to wheelchair accessible housing in Metro Vancouver.