Home Share Program

Our Home Share program provides support to individuals with a developmental disability while residing in the home of an OCL Home Share employee.

Some people with developmental disabilities need daily support but do not require the specialized support of other programs, such as OCL’s Residential program. Ottawa-Carleton Lifeskills Inc.’s Home Share program takes care to match an adult with a developmental disability with a Home Share provider who will provide ongoing support in his or her own family home.  The Home Share provider is a salaried staff person of OCL. 

The Home Share program is more than room and board; for the adults with developmental disabilities who reside in one of our Home Share homes  truly do become part of the family. They contribute to the household, enjoy holidays and celebrations with the Home Share family and often go on family holidays together.

How it works

Compatibility between residents and the Home Share provider and their family is an essential part of the Home Share program.  To make sure a good match is made, the intake and hiring process includes evaluating several factors:

  • the physical premises compared to the physical needs of the individual
  • the location of the home
  • the presence of a spouse or significant other, children and/or pets
  • common interests and activity levels, ISSP goals
  • the Home Share provider’s experience in dealing with issues specific to the individual (medical, behavioural, communication, etc)
  • personality mesh

When OCL determines a match is possible, the Home Share provider and the resident meet and start to develop a relationship based on short-term visits. As these visits continue, the Home Share provider and the resident will spend more time together and participate in overnight visits before the resident moves in. Visits will encompass all members in the family home and other individuals who are also being supported in the home share.

The resident and their families participate in an annual Individualized Service and Support Plan (ISSP) meeting to set goals and develop strategies for reaching these goals. The Supervisor and Home Share provider revisit this plan and documentation is kept showing follow-up towards attaining the goals which were set.

The program Supervisor regularly visits each Home Share residence. They meet with the Home Share provider and the resident to continually assess the quality of service and the ongoing suitability of the match. The Supervisor carefully monitors changes to the household, including the addition of other persons, a move, family illness, birth of a child, introduction of pets, etc..

Benefits of the Home Share program

Home Share providers do not replace a resident’s immediate family but often enhance the relationship a resident has with his or her natural family. As with all OCL programs, we welcome the family’s involvement, encourage the Home Share provider to have family visits in their home, and facilitate the individual’s relationship with their natural family. In most cases, we have found that the relationship with the individual’s family improves, as a result of decreased stress on the family, the individual, and/or both.

The Home Share program has been in operation since 1993. In this time, OCL has seen many benefits for the residents. Residents enjoy the flexibility provided by this type of small setting as it allows them to enjoy a higher level of involvement in outside activities like education, recreation, community integration, family events, and vacations. Families and professionals including doctors and therapists are able to communicate with one consistent individual who knows the resident very well.

About the Home Share Staff

Home Share providers are full-time employees of Ottawa-Carleton Lifeskills.  They receive salaries, benefits, training, support and supervision. The hiring process includes an extensive “Home Study” to ensure suitability of the home and support from other members of the household. All adults living in the home must maintain a police records check. 

Home Share providers are full-time employees and agree in their contracts to limit other formal time commitments such as educational courses, other employment, volunteering, or home businesses to a maximum of 24 hours per week. The individuals living in Home Share and their families are asked to complete a Family Satisfaction Survey annually.