Partners for Planning - Options for Home: Jonathon's Story
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Earl and Carol are proud parents to two sons. Their son Jonathon was 29 when they began the process of developing and implementing a housing plan. As a family, they creatively used their financial assets as homeowners to find a home, not only for their son but for themselves too, on one property. They paid close attention to Jonathon’s goals as well as his needs both now and in the future.

We interviewed Earl and Carol about their experiences. You can click below to dive deeper into various aspects of their planning journey.  



Keeping Community in Mind

Earl and Carol paid close attention to where Jonathon’s natural community already existed. They moved out of their neighbourhood and purchased a home where Jonathon was deeply connected to people and activities he enjoyed. In the area of Newmarket, where they now live, Jonathon is able to enjoy his favourite activities, and live close by to the people who care about him. This has allowed for more opportunities for Jonathon.


Using Technology

Jonathon lives fairly independently. However, there are times (ex. overnight) where Jonathon requires a caregiver to be present. Over time, Jonathon’s family has implemented the use of technology into their housing plan to increase the ability for Jonathon to be as independent as possible.


Start Planning Early

Housing expert Kelly Casey encourages families to start thinking about their vision for their child’s life as early as 6-9 years old. She says, this is the best time to start creating a vision for the future and can help you be prepared when the time comes to start implementing a plan.

As your child grows and transitions to adulthood, you can learn more about their own wishes, needs as well as begin putting a housing plan into action. Starting as early as possible, can give your family the opportunity to try out various living arrangements, practice living as independently as possible, learn new skills, connect to the right people, and gather information to help you make informed decisions. 


Do Your Research

Earl and Carol were very clear that it was important to Jonathon to have his own space. To create a scenario where both Jonathon and his parents had suitable living arrangements that were close, but also separate, required some careful planning. To do so, they become familiar with and leveraged existing housing density legislation that would allow them to have two residences on one property. This also required working with the city council.


Sustaining the Model

The housing model that eventually came together for Jonathon’s family is flexible and “future-friendly”. The secondary residence could be used for a second caregiver or perhaps for Jonathon’s siblings. It could also be used as income for Jonathon if it was rented out. It may also provide an opportunity for family collaboration if another individual or family also need a caregiver nearby. Keeping the future in mind while planning is important in sustaining your housing plan.

What made it achievable?

We know that not everyone will start their planning journey as current homeowners. However, some things that helped Earl and Carol that may help you to also be successful are:

  • Leverage whatever existing assets you have. In Earl and Carol’s case they did so by selling their house and purchasing a new house and land at an even cost.
  • Leverage the natural supports (people, community) in your life and do the work to be informed on what legal options are available to you.
  • Recruit members to your child’s Microboard that have a variety of expertise that can help you make informed decisions or leverage networks. Members of Jonathon’s Microboard had expertise in finance and, law etc. that supported his family to navigate some complicated processes.
  • Be clear on what is important to your child. Earl and Carol knew that having a separate space was important to their son and also saw an opportunity in locating closer to his natural community. Your child’s vision should drive your housing plan.

Want to see more examples from other families?