KW Habilitation opens new building

Photo by Bach Nguyen

Photo by Bach Nguyen

KW Habilitation, a not-for-profit organization in Kitchener focused on offering services to developmentally disabled persons in the Region of Waterloo, opened a new building last Thursday. The new building, dubbed The Vibe, was opened by the organization with help from many developmentally disabled citizens in a grand opening ceremony.
KW Habilitation facilitates programs and services for both developmentally disabled children and adults in the Region of Waterloo.

Currently, the organization offers group living, employment supports, programs that offer short breaks for families with disabled members and education support for 1,100 children with special needs in their early learning family resource program.

“Where we were before was a very traditional model of support for adults with a development disability, and it was also in an old factory that was very much aging and in disrepair and needed to have a lot done,” said Ann Bilodeau, executive director of KW Habilitation.

The Vibe building was actually built on the same property as the old KW Habilitation location. The property, owned by the organization, will now house both the new building and an upcoming project that KW Habilitation is currently working on.

“We were able to build on this property and now we’re tearing down the old factory and we’re going to be putting up a 22-unit affordable housing project which certainly has redefined and revitalized this neighbourhood a great deal, just in those two projects,” said Bilodeau.

The Vibe will bolster the organization’s community participation program and host new facilities to better serve the region’s developmentally disabled population.

The new building will also be based on more modern approaches to assisting developmentally disabled persons, a step forward from the older model the organization previously used.

“We certainly have been able to enhance the services we have, and we also have been able to become a little more defined, like any of our programs that were out in the community, we’ve brought together,” said Bilodeau.

“So there’s a lot more collaboration and there’s a lot more community partnerships we’ve been able to establish with our new building.”

The Vibe is also one of the first of many expansions in the realm of infrastructure and services that will be offered for the developmentally disabled in Ontario.

The Ontario Government had included a new $810-million fund in their pre-election budget for the growth of developmental services in the province, aiming at reducing waiting lists and enhancing community support.

“The building is a great representation of what they do. They believe in the people they serve, they believe in our community and they believe in each other. For them, it’s all about belonging and connectedness. They’ve been real leaders for our community, and they inspire all of their colleagues in developmental services every day,” said Gary Whitung, director of developmental services Ontario.

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