Benefits of co-housing, yoga, advocacy come home for posAbilities members
Michelle Strutzenberger


A couple of posAbilities members attending the recent B.C. Association for Community Living conference came home inspired with ideas for new activity in the days ahead.

For Rosie Burns, who is supported by posAbilities, it was personal inspiration she found.  She took part in the daily yoga exercises offered throughout the event.

They were such good exercise, Rosie tells posAbilities Today, she plans to keep working them into her life.

PosAbilities support worker Maria Carpio says she was most struck by former MP and B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh’s injunction to “speak up” on issues of importance.

“He was saying that when you see that something that needs to be done, you just have to get active. If you need to write five letters a month to your local representatives, then do that. That’s the message I found helpful,” says Maria.

One of the organization’s program directors, Gord Tulloch, was also amongst the more than 400 attendees of the June 1-2 event held in Penticton.

Gord says he found confirmation for a possibility he’s been considering for some time as the future of community living.

It was in attending a workshop on co-housing delivered by Cam Dore of Healthy Opportunities for Meaningful Experience (HOME) Society, a registered non-profit supporting more than 70 people in a variety of living arrangements.

Gord suggests that if done thoughtfully such co-housing communities can increase the accent on reciprocal neighbourly care, as opposed to system support.

“It’s an example of how the solution to social problems occurs in community, not in a social service system,” he says.

“It addresses several major problems at once: social fragmentation and isolation in urban life; cost prohibitions to purchasing shelter in the Lower Mainland; and service sustainability.

“By creating safe and hospitable living spaces, there is so much opportunity for persons with disabilities to find a place where they can truly belong and participate.”

The challenge is applying the time and resources to develop such an option in the midst of so much busyness.

Themed “Moving Ahead Steady and Strong,” this year’s BCACL conference included plenary presentations from well-known advocates within the disability rights community Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift, parent Cathy Anthony and Ujjal Dosanjh.

Social media activity around the event suggests it was a great opportunity to make new friends, reconnect with old ones and learn something new.

One Twitter message noted that the event, “rocked big. Great people full of great ideas and conversation.”

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