How can we make new buildings more accessible in BC? The Province is inviting all British Columbians to provide their feedback about the BC Building Code accessibility requirements.
The Right Fit is hiring! The Individualized Funding Resource Society is hiring a full-time Navigator (Housing Client Case Management) for the Right Fit Program to work with indoor wheelchair users in need of affordable, accessible homes in BC’s lower mainland. The successful candidate is personable, empathic, and a great multi-tasker, able to build relationships easily and interact with individuals who are dealing with challenging circumstances in a respectful and supportive manner.
Paulo Guerrero was 19 years old when a motorcycle accident left him paraplegic due to a spinal cord injury in 2018. He now uses a manual wheelchair indoors and outdoors. When he was discharged from GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Guerrero did not have an accessible home so he moved to his sister’s place and then lived with his parents, in a basement. The unit was small, dark, and had a set of stairs leading down to the entry. This challenging living situation started taking a toll on Guerrero’s mental health.
On February 24, 2021, we partnered with the BC Non Profit Housing Association to present an educational webinar on Accessible housing for wheelchair users. Our team described the mandate and activities of The Right Fit, we covered the definitions of accessible housing, discussed the unique challenges wheelchair users face when searching for accessible homes, and the role housing providers can play in improving housing accessibility in British Columbia. Karen Williams, senior researcher with BC Housing and a member of the Right Fit Steering Committee described the role of BC Housing in supporting accessibility, the programs and resources available to housing providers, and how BC Housing works closely with the Right Fit to match accessible housing units to wheelchair users. If you have missed the webinar, you can still watch it on the BCNPHA website.
Together with the Province of BC and CMHC, BC Housing has just announced the introduction of the BC Rebate for Accessible Home Adaptations program (BC RAHA). The program gives financial assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income seniors and people with permanent disabilities or diminished abilities to help with the cost of making adaptations to their homes for independent living. As of March 18, 2021, This program has replaced the Home Adaptations for Independence Program (HAFI) as of March 18, 2021. The BC RAHA introduces several changes, including a streamlined applications and approvals process and a required assessment by an occupational therapist or other qualified professional to make sure that adaptations accurately address the applicants’ needs. The program provides up to $17,500 in rebates towards adaptations that can include exterior and interior ramps and door widening to accommodate a wheelchair, and bathroom modifications such as grab bars, shower seats and handheld showerheads.
As the Right Fit transitioned in 2020 from Pilot Project to Program, our team felt it was time to create a new logo that would allow everyone to immediately recognize the Right Fit and easily identify what we do. Our team has put a lot of thinking into defining how to present ourselves to the world. A logo tells a multi-dimensional story, and ours is about not only connecting wheelchair users to accessible housing but also supporting our clients in their journey to finding a home, with all the supports they need to thrive. This is why it was important for us to choose a logo that demonstrates a path to housing. We acknowledge that it is never a straight line for people with disabilities to find a home, with many corners to turn. The Right Fit is here to help our clients navigate this journey. The result is a multi-layered logo that demonstrates that path, but also shows a person in a wheelchair, a location pin, the key to a house, and a magnifying glass. We also wanted to emphasise accessibility and this is why the logo has an open side.
Our program is featured in the BC Non-Profit Housing Association’s magazine and website. The article features the story of one of our clients that the Right Fit recently placed in an accessible unit. Paulo Guerrero was 19 years old when a motorcycle accident left him paraplegic due to a spinal cord injury in 2018. He now uses a manual wheelchair indoors and outdoors. When he was discharged from GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Guerrero did not have an accessible home. His living situation started taking a toll on Guerrero’s mental health. He began searching for an accessible home and found out about the Right Fit program through a staff member at GF Strong. We have placed Paulo in a two-bedroom apartment located in North Vancouver, close to his family in June 2020. Read more of his story and how our program helps wheelchair users find permanent accessible homes.