We are grateful to Lions Homes for Deaf People for the financial support of a project that is vital to the lives of people who are deafblind, namely housing that is accessible, affordable and attainable.
We believe modular housing addresses these fundamental needs.
The LHDP board of directors approved the funding on Nov. 30 following a presentation by Brian Shypula, Manager of Strategic Engagement, and Connie Martin, Production Supervisor for ANC Modular. Sensity’s project was one of two presented to LHDP that night and the only one to receive funding.
“All the new proposals were considered carefully as they all had merit. The fact that Sensity’s proposal was a new construction project build in such a short time and would be put to use right away was a big factor in our decision,” said Zoltan Dohar, chair of the LHDP board.
Sensity is grateful for the support of Lions Homes for Deaf People, especially during the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Lion Zoltan explained LHDP has needed to cut back funding because of reductions in contributions from Lions clubs, many of which are only now starting to meet again and fundraise due to the pandemic.
Housing that is accessible, affordable and attainable is arguably the great challenge facing our organization and the unique individuals we support. Finding housing that meets the accessibility needs of people who are deafblind yet stays within their limited budget on fixed income disability supports is practically impossible in the current real estate market.
Our Services department has identified nine people in Sensity’s services whose housing is not adequate to meet their needs, with the No. 1 issue being accessibility, followed by affordability.
Sensity anticipates completion of the modular housing pilot project in the 2022-23 fiscal year. The location of the project is still to be determined. Land acquisition efforts are focused on Brantford-Brant and the Niagara region.
The project would serve one to four individuals, depending on the land acquired.
Modular construction is a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – in approximately half the time. Buildings are produced in “modules” that when put together on site, reflect the identical design intent and specifications of the most sophisticated site-built facility.
“We believe this modular housing pilot project is critical to position Sensity for the future, including access to government-funded programs for affordable housing,” Brian said.
Sensity has connected to with a local company, ANC Modular. ANC Modular has experience building affordable modular housing projects for the City of Brantford and Six Nations of the Grand River.
ANC’s modern 330 square-foot studio units are big enough for a kitchen/living room, bathroom and bedroom area. They have air-conditioning, a washer/dryer appliance, walkout entrances and, depending on the property, access to a backyard and parking.
They are customizable and can be built to Facility Accessibility Design Standards (FADS), which exceed the Ontario Building Code standards for accessibility.
In ANC Modular, we feel we have found a kindred spirit. Founder Andrew Neill grew up on the grounds of W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford, where his father was a superintendent of education and his mother a resource consultant. In fact, Sensity’s first offices more than three decades ago were located in the Neill family home after we were founded as the Canadian Deafblind and Rubella Association of Ontario. ANC Modular’s production supervisor, Connie Martin, was the site lead for the development of the Sensity Resource Centre in Paris. Connie has a deep understanding of the accessibility features and accommodations necessary in the construction of purpose-built housing for people who are deafblind.