Working to bring an end to the Housing Crisis

Learn more about how Reena continues to work to a bring a model of “intentional living” to create affordable housing opportunities for people with diverse needs

The Need For Specialized Housing

Did you know that over 12,000 individuals with developmental disabilities are waiting for housing in Ontario?
Did you know that the wait list for affordable housing units is up to 40 years long?

Despite tireless work from community organizations and ongoing government support, the need for solutions for housing for adults with developmental disabilities continues to grow.

Understanding the Numbers

  • About 300,000 Ontario adults have an intellectual disability. An estimated 40% of these individuals also have a concurrent mental health diagnosis.
  • Over 12,000 individuals in Ontario are on a waiting list for residential supports/affordable housing
  • Over 18% of people who are homeless have a developmental disability
  • 50% live with significant medical issues
  • Women with a developmental disability are 65% more likely to experience abuse
  • 90% live below the poverty line

Reena's response to the housing crisis

One of the Solutions: A Model of Intentional Living

Since 1973, Reena has been providing supportive housing, programming and employment services for individuals with diverse needs including autism and mental health challenges.

Our goal is to create a community where residents are part of their own community but also part of the larger community with the support of Reena.

Reena’s purpose is to improve the lives of people with autism and other developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and other diverse health needs.

While there is not a single, one-size-fits-all solution to this complex challenge — Reena continues to push the sector forward. We believe that just as there are a wide variety of housing options for the general population, there should also be a wide variety of housing options for those with developmental disabilities.

Reena continues to lead the Intentional Community Consortium (ICC) to advocate for housing solutions that are specially designed and built to support independence. Together with our 25 partner organizations, we are dedicated to identifying opportunities and leading advocacy efforts forwards.

In addition, Reena is a resource to the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CHMC), a federal agency, and we work in partnership and consultation in the development of plans that affect people with disabilities.

Reena’s Work to Date

As advocates for positive change, Reena has:

  • played a lead role in developing an inclusive, community-based housing strategy for adults with developmental disabilities.
  • played a lead role in advocating on behalf of the sector with the Federal Government to include housing for those with developmental disabilities as a key component in the National Housing Strategy
  • requested that 10% of funding assigned to affordable housing at the municipal level be designated towards supporting individuals with developmental disabilities
  • funded and completed housing projects that provide additional units for individuals in need
  • assisted organizations across the country to build residences for people with developmental disabilities
  • helped raise awareness for the housing crisis across Canada




Housing Support in Action: The Lou Fruitman Reena Residence

In 2021, Reena completed a fantastic project both on schedule and on budget — a 79-unit, $38 million building, that will be able to provide housing to over 138 people with diverse needs, including those with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, medical frailties, seniors, and others.

Building features:

  • Units designed for independent or shared living arrangements
  • Specialized units for complex health care
  • Programming spaces including a garden, social hall, wellness centre, patio deck and other amenities
  • Fully accessible respite spaces to serve individuals with medical frailties, physical and behavioural challenges

Read more by clicking here!



Reena is grateful for the leadership of the Fruitman Family and the many other generous donors who made this project possible!

“When we belong somewhere we feel comfortable and cared for, and know that others want us to be part of their lives. The beauty of this kind of housing is that it is in the heart of the community – you have access to libraries, to community centres, to synagogues and churches. You are part of a community, not separate from it.” – Bryan Keshen, CEO at Reena

Housing Support in Action: The Reena Community Residence

Building Features: 

  • opened in 2012
  • home to 84 adults with developmental, physical and/or mental health needs
  • the innovative, leading model of integrated housing and support services for adults with disabilities in North America

Read more by clicking here!

Housing Support in Action: The Frankfort Family Reena Residence

Building Features: (slated to open in 2025)

  • will provide a home for an estimated 160 individuals
  • will include specialized units for complex health care and units designed for independent or shared living arrangements
  • will include floors specifically designed to serve people with mental health issues
  • will include amenities such as programming spaces, respite suites, a gymnasium, a garden and underground parking

“We are proud to support Reena’s newest residential project that will help address the urgent need for specialized housing in our community. This project will be life changing for people with disabilities and their families and we are honoured to be involved.” – The Frankfort Family

How can I help?

Join us in supporting this cause and advocating for meaningful and lasting change in our communities.

1. Share this content on Social Media

Simply share this information to build awareness and start discussions around this important issue!

2. Donate to Reena

Every contribution makes a difference in reducing the waiting time for housing for people with developmental disabilities.




3. Advocate together with Reena to help reduce the housing crisis!

Use the form below to apply to become a board member or to join a government and stakeholder’s committee.