unnamedHello I’m Jennifer Deakin.

I live and work in Victoria where I am part of the self advocacy community and CLBC South Island Community Council.

I want to tell you about my journey to Inclusive Housing.

I felt lucky to be asked to attend the Community Living BC Inclusive Housing Forum last March and to have a voice in figuring out what inclusive housing means.

It’s vitally important to include self advocates so we can stand up and agree or disagree about what is being talked about.

I moved into Pacifica Housing in Victoria in Dec 2012.

I was 29 years old. Pacifica provides affordable housing for low income families, persons with a disability and adults who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

I love where I live. I never thought I would be able to move out on my own.

People told me I wasn’t capable and that I’d never be able to afford it. I was told if I tried I would fall flat on my face.

CLBC helped me with all the applications and now I am doing it and have been living in my own apartment for 4 years and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

For me my home at Pacifica is inclusive because I can afford it.  Basically it’s not affordable if you have to choose to between housing and food.

It is also inclusive because I’m close to transportation and can get to my jobs and my friends.

And it works because there are a number of us who get support from CLBC who live in the same building and share workers.

I also have neighbours who do not live with the label of a developmental disability.  On one hand it’s very helpful to live close to people who know and accept each other.

On the other hand it’s good to also have neighbours who don’t have a disability.

I don’t know them as well or talk to them very much, but it gives me a feeling of independence and that we are all part of the same community.

Safety, security, freedom, independence and the ability to life my own life the way I want.  These are things I didn’t have 4 years ago.

They are things I have now thanks to inclusive housing.

I’m excited to be sharing my story at the upcoming BC Non-Profit Housing Association Conference on Nov 21st.