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Toronto Community Housing to make buildings more accessible

DAVID NICKLE | Jan 19, 2010 – 4:48 PM

When Penny Lamy moved into her new accessible apartment in Regent Park last September, it was, she said, “like a fog lifted.”
“I feel like I’ve had a fog lifted since I finally got settled,” said Lamy, who must use an electric wheelchair to move around. “Other tenants are really excited there as well.”

Lamy was on hand at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) Tuesday, Jan. 19 to help kick off a partnership with Toronto Community Housing (TCH) that will see more of the city housing company’s stock upgraded and designed to be accessible to people of different abilities.

The partnership will see graduate and undergraduate students at OCAD participate in research and projects related to upgrading one building – 275 Shuter St. in the Moss Park community. The older building will be used as a template for redesign that will make TCH’s entire stock of housing more inclusive.

Keiko Nakamura, acting CEO of Toronto Community Housing, said the company has been working hard to bring its stock of housing in line with new requirements under the Ontario With Disabilities Act.

“Our challenge is we have a social housing portfolio where most of the buildings have been constructed in 1950 or earlier,” she said. “Think about the potential challenges they have for the individual tenant. What this project means for Toronto Community Housing is that we’re very much about supporting the individual.”

For Lamy, the change has been significant. In her previous apartment, she had to go to a nearby community centre simply to shower. Finding accessible housing even in the private sector had been a problem.

When she moved into her new Regent Park apartment the fact the unit was designed with her in mind made a huge difference in her life, she said.

“I’m really happy that Toronto Community Housing is building more of these units,” she said. “Not all of them are accessible – but it’s a relief. A big relief. Not to be able to bathe yourself properly in your home is overwhelming emotionally.” .
Reproduced from http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/cityhall/article/507401–toronto-community-housing-to-make-buildings-more-accessible