I took my Power in my Hand – /
And went against the World –
Emily Dickinson (Poem 660)
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
---For the Love of Alex---------Change coming.....-----------Reena Community Residence
Reena was established in 1973 by a small group of parents of children with developmental disabilities as a practical alternative to institutions.
In 1977 Reena began to receive funding from the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. Reena is also funded by the community through the Reena Foundation and by the United Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto. Reena today provides programs and support to close to 1,000 persons in a variety of residential locations.
The Toby and Henry Battle Developmental Centre was opened in 1999 for day and evening programs for children and adults with a developmental disability. Located in Vaughan, this unique building features a wellness and health centre, sports centre, creative arts workshop, computer lab, greenhouse and library, all with activities tailored to the individual skills and interests of its members. The Battle Centre is also the site of Reena’s administrative offices.
Recognising the increasing needs of individuals with developmental disabilities as they age, Reena opened its first home dedicated to seniors in 2000, followed by another such home in 2007.
An innovative new housing alternative, the Reena Community Residence, was officially opened in September 2012 in the heart of the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan. It provides apartments for 84 adults with developmental, cognitive, physical or mental health needs. Designed as an Intentional Community for individuals with special needs, the residents will be truly integrated into the community as they access all the facilities and programs the campus has to offer.
Reena promotes dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities within a framework of Jewish culture and values
Reena Community Residence
Located on the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan, this residence personifies inclusion, not only as one of Reena’s core values, but also as a core practice. The residence serves adults and seniors people with a range of special needs such as developmental, physical and/or mental health.
Each tenant is facing a major life transition. Some:
have moved out of their childhood homes for the first time;
have downsized from the family home;
have found an independent, supportive home after years of searching; and
are developing personal independence in their new home.
The Reena Community Residence embodies inclusion in an environment where people of varied abilities come together to live a meaningful life, connected to their families, friends and neighbours. Beyond providing a home and supports, this integrated program builds a community where people can live, work and play. The residence is an intentional community; a creative response to community needs. Tenants are asked to commit to a social vision that emphasizes the importance of living and sharing life together. Residents, who range in age from their 20’s to mid-80’s, are encouraged to look out for their neighbours and can expect the same help from others living here.
Another guiding principle at Reena is community partnerships through strong and respectful collaboration. Over the past several years, Reena has worked closely with Circle of Care to develop an integrated model of service delivery for individuals with developmental disabilities to live with safety, dignity and a greater quality of life.
The intent is to assist residents with a service delivery system that is seamless from the tenant’s perspective. It brings diverse agencies together to integrate services despite traditional service, program and funding silos.
Partner agencies, which have referred individuals to the Reena Community Residence, have committed to providing services to their own individuals and to other tenants as needed. They have also agreed to help tenants knit into this intentional community. Agencies have shared information through discussions, focus groups and training sessions. Together, an integrated application process was developed, along with intake protocols for prospective tenants.
This partnership has been extended to March of Dimes. In 2013, the Central LHIN announced a cluster care model of housing and support for young people at the Reena Community Residence. In this community-based option, March of Dimes provides attendant care, assisted by Reena staff. Young people, who might otherwise need long-term care to meet their complex health needs, receive the medical attention they need to increase their independence, and reach their full potential.
Applications for people with developmental disabilities are taken by:
(905) 889.6484 x2051
Applications by seniors or people with mental health needs are taken by:
Circle of Care
Applications from people with physical disabilities are taken by:
Ontario March of Dimes
(905) 775.7758 x6216
A Care Team, comprised of staff from three agencies, meets to discuss and implement protocols for application, intake and on-going support to tenants. This reinforces our model of integrated service delivery providing wrap-around care for people with disabilities.
Main Floor Amenities
The Reena Community Residence, located on the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Community Campus, is an apartment building with integrated supports that offers residential living, respite, and day programs in one location. Because of the unique blend of residential and day programs, the Residence is a busy place, both day and evening.
The main floor offers program rooms, administrative offices and the services of apartment living, such as a laundry room, Property Management and Superintendent’s office. The many program rooms are heavily used during the day for Pathways North and the popular Channels Program. Some of the participants are tenants who reside in the building, while others come in for the day. Within the two programs, individuals practice life and employment skills, and are provided with many social opportunities to interact and improve their communication skills.
Two of the rooms are extra special. Through a partnership with Shoresh (an environmental agency), the Greenhouse is used by program participants who nurture their seedlings over the winter. In the spring and summer months, participants help care for the crop in the community garden across the street and then sample the “fruits of their labour” at harvest time. The Life Skills suite is a fully functional one-bedroom apartment where individuals learn the skills of independent living – including how to do their laundry!
All the rooms have multiple uses. For example, the Channels room can be transformed into an Education Centre, with ceiling installed equipment that can be easily utilized. It also doubles as a meeting room. The large multipurpose room is used during the day for Pathways North, where participants take part in sports, recreational activities, and music and drama programs. The room also has audio-visual capacity and can be used for movies, dances and other multi-media events.
The computer room is used for day programs, evening activities and as a meeting room. The library is also used for Pathways and in the evening all tenants are invited to attend special programs. These include karaoke, movies, art programs, guest speakers and special events.
The outdoor Maxwell and Ruth Leroy Holocaust Remembrance Garden is located on the west side of the Residence, on Ilan Ramon Boulevard. Visitors are encouraged to view the stone panels, which honour the memory of the over 200,000 people with disabilities who were rounded up and killed during World War II. In the summer, program participants act as docents for community tours.
The garden and panels are in full view of the community and clearly visible from the Residence, which boasts full-length window panes. This environment visually and physically welcomes the community into the building, while ensuring that residents and program participants are seen and included in everything we do at Reena.
To view a map of the Reena Community Residence click here
Ontario is helping plan new inclusive living environments where people of varying abilities can be connected to their families, friends, neighbours and community.
The province is providing funding to a group of 10 developmental services agencies known as the Intentional Community Consortium (ICC) to develop an inclusive, community-based housing strategy for adults with developmental disabilities. The ICC is guided by a vision of creating housing options in communities across Ontario while leveraging collaborative partnerships.
This work will be guided by the success of other Ontario projects, such as the Reena Community Residence in Thornhill where people with varying abilities live together with a shared vision to support each other, take part in their community and stay connected with their loved ones.
Developing innovative and inclusive housing ideas for people with developmental disabilities is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
Ontario provides residential supports to more than 18,000 adults with developmental disabilities.
This investment is part of the government’s three-year $810 million investment in community and developmental services.
Ontario currently invests over $2 billion a year on developmental services.
“We know there is no one-size-fits-all housing solution for adults with developmental disabilities. It’s about exploring creative partnerships to design innovative housing options that can meet the unique needs of a wide range of individuals. Today’s announcement will help us continue our work to address the growing demand for accessible, supportive housing for adults with developmental disabilities.”
“Reena is proud to partner with Ontario and other developmental service agencies as part of the Intentional Community Consortium to develop our innovative community residence model for adults with developmental disabilities. It’s projects like these that will make a difference in the lives of the segment of the population we work so hard to serve.”