Every successful housing model has a solid financial foundation. It all begins with a budget which is essentially a summary of your expected income and expenses for a defined period of time (usually one month). To create a sustainable and realistic housing plan, you need to understand the amount of money that is available to you compared to how much you will need each month for both living expenses and supports.
In this section of the housing toolkit, you will find resources that will help you build a budget, as well as understand your funding and financial options.
Here are several types of budgets that you may want to consider for your housing plan:
Your household budget includes things like rent, food, utilities, clothing, entertainment (all of those things that need to be covered by income sources like ODSP and employment).
Your support budget includes your cost of supports, whether technology or person driven. The support budget can only be created when you know what you will be doing throughout the day and what supports you require to be successful. This is why it is important to ensure your
housing vision is clear.
There may be an opportunity to share supports with your housemate or neighbour. The most common times to share support when living in the same space or the same building/geographic location are overnight support, morning routine, and evening mealtime support, as this is when people are most often spending time in their home.
It is important to remember that people change with time and this may be reflected in their living environments. Any housing plan that is developed should be able to change with the person. Most people have several living situations throughout their adult life. Therefore, whatever is created needs to be flexible and any shared financial resources should be individually tracked in the event future separation is required.
Funding and financial resources for the supports you need may come from several different sources, and although you may work and/or receive benefits from ODSP, your income and/or basic allowance may not cover the amount you require for all your support needs.
Here are some resources you may wish to explore, if you haven’t already done so:
Build a Brighter Future Fund provides financial assistance to adults with autism to assist with such things as program fees for recreation or skill development, respite, professional supports, tuition, or other creative solutions connected to building life plans. Successful candidates will receive reimbursement of up to $500.00. An individual may receive this subsidy only once.
Ceridian Cares is a Canadian charity that may provide a one-time grant for such things as food, clothing, footwear, and household items, medical devices, home adjustments for barrier free living, and recreational programs.
This may be another way to raise some money for parts of your housing plan. This process usually involves approaching your social networks (friends, family, acquaintances, social media contacts, etc.) to donate a contribution towards the cost of a venture or cause. Generally, you would do this through the internet. There are several different online platforms which have been created to make this possible.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC)
DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps people with disabilities and those supporting them to reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
Family Managed Home Care
This is a model of home care delivery in Ontario and is available through the Home and Community Care Support Services (formerly called the Local Health Integration Network). Find your local Home and Community Care Support Services here to see is this is available in your region.
This type of trust can be a very useful tool to consider when planning for the financial future of a family member with a developmental disability. It is what is known as a discretionary trust, which means that it can be put in place to protect the assets of the person with a developmental disability while also preserving their ability to access government benefits, such as ODSP.
Incorporating as a non-profit
Personal networks or circles, can provide an invaluable source of support and friendship. In some cases, an individual and their network, may decide to formalize this arrangement in a more official manner through incorporating as a non-profit. This may be done by creating a Microboard. It can also be done outside of the Microboard model. Incorporating may allow the organization to qualify for financial incentives such as low cost loans or grants (e.g. National Housing Co-Investment Fund). If the organization is granted charitable status, it may qualify for tax exemptions. For more information see below under Resources you may find useful if you consider incorporating.
An intervenor is an individual who facilitates the interaction of a person who is deafblind with other people and the environment. More information regarding services available through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS), can be found here.
Home and Community Care Support Services
Home and Community Care Support Services plan, integrate and fund local health care in Ontario. They provide access to home and community care services across the province. You can find your local Home and Community Care Support Services here. If you need health care or personal support in your home or community, contact your local Home and Community Care Support Services to see what might be available. To find out more about the services available visit the Ontario Health and Wellness page.
My Direct Plan
Designed with families and community agencies, MyDirectPlan is all about making your life easier. MyDirectPlan simplifies the process of recording, tracking, and submitting expenses for Passport or Special Services at Home Funding.
Navigation For Adults With A Disability
This booklet was created by Partners for Planning and contains a brief checklist that identifies some of the main funding programs that individuals 18 years or older may qualify for.
Navigation for Families – 0 to 21 Years
This is another resource from Partners for Planning. It contains a brief checklist of some funding programs that you may want to consider when planning for the best possible life with your child.
ODSP and employment
If you are receiving ODSP and would like to find paid employment, you may be eligible for Employment Supports through ODSP. If you decide to work whilst on ODSP, you will need to report your income to your ODSP caseworker. The ODSP program has created some helpful documents to help you understand the benefits of working whilst receiving ODSP and how to calculate the affect employment will have on your benefits. Partners for Planning has also compiled some helpful information regarding ODSP.
Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)
The OESP will reduce the cost of your household electricity by applying a monthly credit directly to your bill. The credit amount will depend on how many people live in your home and your combined household income.
Passport funding is available to people who are eligible for services through Developmental Services Ontario (DSO). The funding aims to help people to participate more actively in their community and engage in life skills building activities that can increase independence. It can be used in a variety of ways. Click here for some examples.
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
RDSP is a savings plan that can be set up for a person who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). It is intended to help caregivers save for their loved one’s financial future and security. Caregivers can make personal contributions to an RDSP and the Canadian Government offers grants and bonds which can help the plan to grow. Partners for Planning provides helpful information to further explain the benefits of an RDSP.
Here is a
link to an RDSP calculator.
Here Partners for Planning provides
tips and strategies to consider after you have opened an RDSP.
Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant (OSHPTG)
Available to seniors who pay property tax and have low or moderate income. It is an annual payment that seniors must apply for each year when they file their income tax and benefit return (up to $500/year).
Resources you may find useful, if you consider incorporating:
CorporationCentre.ca – FAQs
This website provides FAQs that can help you understand how to incorporate a non-profit.
Differences Between Charities and Non-Profit Organizations for Your Donations
Differences Between Charities and Non-Profit Organizations for Your Donations
How to Incorporate in Ontario and Canada: The Definitive Guide
This is a practical guide that provides you with a short, succinct summary of the steps needed to incorporate a business under the Ontario law or the federal law of Canada.
Glossary of terms
Adult Protective Service Worker (APSW) – An APSW can meet with the person regularly to inform about community supports and ministry-funded services. They can help the person identify his/her strengths and needs and assist with developing problem-solving and life skills, like budgeting and learning to use public transportation.
Affordable housing – A housing that costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income. This definition is applied to all forms of housing; private housing is considered “affordable” if it costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income. Affordable housing relates to all forms of housing: rental, ownership and co-operative ownership, as well as temporary and permanent housing. Affordable housing may be provided by the private, public and non-profit sectors.
Affordable rental housing – A housing where the total monthly shelter cost is at or below the region’s Average Market Rent (AMR) by unit type. The AMR is set by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on a yearly basis.
Application for Developmental Services and Supports (ADSS) – Collects general information including medical conditions, capabilities and background. It also includes a section called “Getting to Know You” which gathers information about a person's likes and dislikes, as well as their dreams and future goals.
AROHA – An incorporated entity which ensures that the person’s voice is heard, and that available resources and supports are used to keep with her or his wishes and needs—now, and into the future, after parents are no longer available to help their loved one.
Assessor Summary Report (ASR) – Using the information gathered during the completion of the ADSS and SIS® interviews, a DSO Application Assessor will prepare an ASR that summarizes the key findings from the entire DSO application package.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) – An organization that provides mortgage liquidity, assists in affordable housing development, and provides unbiased research and advice to the government, and housing industry.
Co-housing – An agreement within a residential building (apartment or home) where each unit has access to a shared or common space. The common space typically includes kitchen facilities, a dining area, laundry facilities, and even recreation space.
Community circle – Brings two or more people together around someone who wants help to make a change in their life. That change can be anything – from getting out and about more, expanding social life or living more independently in the community.
Community housing – A housing that is created with government support to ensure that it is more affordable for low-income households. Government assistance can be provided in various forms, including funding, free or reduced-cost access to land, access to lower mortgage rates, etc.
Crowdfunding – A process that usually involves approaching social networks (friends, family, acquaintances, social media contacts, etc.) to request a donation towards the cost of a venture or cause. In this case, you may ask them to contribute to some of the costs associated with your housing plan.
Developmental disability – According to the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008, a developmental disability means that the person has the prescribed significant limitations in cognitive functioning and adaptive functioning and those limitations,
originated before the person reached 18 years of age;
are likely to be life-long in nature; and
affect areas of major life activity, such as personal care, language skills, learning abilities, the capacity to live independently as an adult or any other prescribed activity.
Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) – The access point for adult developmental services funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) in Ontario. There are 9 DSO agencies located across the province; serving individuals in different counties and regions.
Direct funding program (MOH) – funding that is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) to eligible persons with support needs related to a disability and/or health condition, where the person, someone they appoint, or a third party on their behalf, manages the funds to pay for services and support. Examples include Family Managed Home Care and Self-Managed Attendant Services. Please note that this definition applies specifically to this toolkit only.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC) – A non-refundable tax credit that helps people with disabilities and those supporting them to reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
DSO application package – If an person is eligible for ministry-funded adult developmental services, he/she will be asked to attend 2 meetings to complete an application package (ADSS and SIS). Once the application package is completed, a DSO staff person will create a report that summarizes the person’s support needs (ASR). He/she will receive a copy of these documents and they could be useful to reference when building an individualized housing plan.
DSO eligibility – To apply for adult developmental services, funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) through Developmental Services Ontario (DSO), a person with a developmental disability will need to prove that he or she has a developmental disability, lives in Ontario, and is 18 years old (a person may begin the application process as early as 16 years of age).
Employee – A person who is employed for wages or salary. ‘Employees’ are employed and paid by an ‘employer’. Employers are responsible for deducting Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, EI premiums, and income tax from their employees wages. Employers must pay these deductions along with their share of CPP contributions and EI premiums, to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Family Managed Home Care – A new model for home care delivery in Ontario that is available in each LHIN. This model provides flexibility and choice to families, they can set a schedule that best works for them. They are required to hire and recruit their own workers: employees, independent contractors, or agency staff.
Formal supports – People who have a paid relationship with the individual, either through government funded resources or private funds. They might be support staff from a local agency, a swimming instructor, a teacher, etc.
Generic supports – Services and supports which may be applicable to and accessed by any member of the general public. These services could include, but are not limited to health, dental, vision care, housing, home care, social services, recreational services, employment supports, educational services, etc.
Good neighbour – In this intentional community, good neighbours provide a natural safety net, just like a typical neighbour would. They create community within the building and provide friendship and natural supports to other residents in the building.
Henson Trust – A type of trust that can be a very useful tool to consider when planning for the financial future of a family member with a developmental disability. It is what is known as a discretionary trust, which means that it can be put in place to protect the assets of the person with a developmental disability while also preserving their ability to access government benefits, such as ODSP.
Household budget – A type of budget that includes things like rent, food, utilities, clothing, entertainment (all of those things that need to be covered by income sources like ODSP and employment).
Housing plan – A description of the person’s hopes and dreams and it answers the following information gathering questions: who, what, when, where, and how. For example, where would you like to live? Who would you like to live with? The goal of the housing plan is to bring the person as close as possible to his or her larger vision.
Housing vision – Provides the support team with a clear statement and overall purpose. It will provide the team with inspiration and help to motivate them. The vision will allow the team to “check-in” to ensure that everything is moving in the right direction.
Independent contractor – A person or entity contracted to perform work for—or provide services to—another entity as a nonemployee.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) – A written statement of the educational program specifically tailored to meet a child's individual needs. Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP.
Individualized facilitation – A process that supports a person with a disability to think about the life they want and participate in their community. The process involves exploring passions and interests, creating a vision and goals. A person can hire an independent contractor to guide them through the process and to support them in taking actions towards achieving their vision and goals.
Individualized funding (MCCSS) – funding that has been available in the past as part of pilot projects or one-time initiatives to help finance individually tailored housing and support plans for people with a developmental disability. Whilst the plans may be managed by the individual and/or those supporting them, the funds generally flow through a ministry approved agency and are not managed directly by the individual or those supporting them. Examples of past initiatives include the Innovative Residential Model Initiative (IRMI) and the Innovative Housing Demonstration Projects funded as part of the Ontario Developmental Services Housing Task Force (both funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services). There is no process to request individualized funding through Developmental Services Ontario or the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Please note that this definition applies specifically to this toolkit only.
Individualized Residential Model – A person-centered housing model created specifically to address a person’s needs and desires for home.
Intentional communities – Take many forms and can generally be described as a residential community that is planned and designed to include a high degree of friendly association and social cohesion. In most cases, residents share similar values, goals, or beliefs.
Intervenor services – An individual who facilitates the interaction of a person who is deafblind with other people and the environment.
Microboard – An autonomous group of at least five committed family and friends who join together with a person who has a disability to create a supportive not-for-profit corporation.
Natural supports – Unpaid people in a person’s life. They may include family, friends, neighbours, etc. They sometimes include people who used to be formal supports (e.g. a former teacher), who have become friends over time.
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) – One of Ontario's social assistance programs. ODSP provides income and employment supports to eligible Ontario residents who have disabilities.
Person Directed Planning (PDP) – A type of planning that assists persons with developmental disabilities to create a meaningful life in their community by identifying their life goals and finding community connections, services and/or supports with the help of their families and/or others.
Passport program – Provides funding that can be used to help adults with a developmental disability to participate more actively in their community and build and increase life skills.
Psychological assessment – A psychologist or psychological associate can conduct a psychological assessment to evaluate a person’s thinking, learning and behaviour; provide a diagnosis and/or make treatment recommendations. A psychological assessment is required in order to confirm the diagnosis of a developmental disability, and eligibility for DSO.
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – A savings plan that can be set up for a person who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to help save for their financial future and security. Anyone can contribute to an individual’s RDSP, until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns age 59.
Secondary suite – A self-contained unit located within an existing residential dwelling (e.g. a self-contained apartment, located in the basement of a house) unit that could be for a family member or another individual with a developmental disability, or a person who provides support to the family.
Shared support – When two or more people are supported by the same worker or support person. Most commonly, supports are shared by individuals who live in the same home, building or community. Shared support can be a way of reducing the cost associated with hiring paid staff. There may be an opportunity for a person to share supports with a housemate or neighbour.
Special assessment – A fee that can be charged by condominium corporations and/or condominium boards, on top of regular monthly condominium fees. There are rules around when these fees can be charged, often they are charged to cover the cost of unforeseen expenses or to address issues related to under budgeting. When purchasing a condominium it is worthwhile to inquire how much money is in the reserve fund and whether or not there has been a special assessment in the last five years.
Support budget – A type of budget that outlines the costs associated with the support a person requires to be successful. These expenses could be related to technology or paid staffing support. The support budget can only be created when the person knows what he or she will be doing throughout the day and what supports are required to be successful.
Supportive housing – Affordable housing that is linked to supports that allow people to live independently in the community. Supportive housing can be beneficial for many populations, including those living with physical and/or developmental disabilities, seniors, and individuals living with mental health issues and/or addictions.
Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) – A unique, scientific assessment tool specifically designed to measure the level of practical supports required by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead normal, independent, and quality lives in society.
Support team – A group of people a person has selected to assist them in achieving his or her hopes, dreams, and goals. Support teams are person-centred and built on relationships, trust and common purpose.