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Our History

The Independent Living Housing Society of Greater Victoria (ILHS) was founded in 1976 by a group of people who lived at the Gorge Road Hospital in its Extended Care Unit. They shared the desire to live a more independent lifestyle and met to discuss new and innovative housing options. Of those people, four decided they were compatible and could live together. They were willing to take responsibility for hiring care workers, looking after the physical maintenance of a house, and paying rent, utilities, and their household expenses. A renovated, wheelchair-modified house in the Swan Lake area was purchased and the first Individuals supported moved in on May 25th, 1976. In 1978, a second fully accessible home was built and opened in the Tillicum area.

The new Society was initially operated under the auspices of the G.R. Pearkes Clinic and funded by a cross section of government ministries and other non-profit organizations. The formal mission of the new Society was developed, “To respond to the expressed consumer need for independent living by providing and assisting with community based independent living options for persons with physical or developmental challenges.” As the organization grew, administrative work originally handled by the Individuals supported was transferred to the Society. On October 2, 1986, G.R. Pearkes Clinic turned the houses over to the ILHS for $1.00.

ILHS subsequently designed and constructed a home in the Gordon Head area, which was officially opened on June 22, 1990. It was a licensed home funded by the Ministry for Children and Family Development, Services for Community Living Branch. To protect the assets of the new home, a separate Society was formed in 1988, called the Independent Living Housing Society of Greater Victoria. The two Societies later amalgamated, as both were serving the needs of the same group of people.

Throughout the 1990’s, ILHS opened three other homes. One community home in the Gordon Head area, another home in Swan Lake area providing both residential and respite services plus seven accessible, one-bedroom apartments in an apartment building in the Tillicum area. And in 2020, ILHS opened a further five accessible one-bedroom apartments in a building in the Uptown area.

Testimonials

I'm happy in my new home! I love the colour of my purple room. I have my own rocking chair in the living room which is comfy. Sometimes I watch shows with my roommate. We have lots of parties and get togethers. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen where I can cook and generally pitch in. Operation Trackshoes was fun! I went for the first time this year. I enjoyed playing all of the games and I've saved my ribbons. I've had lots of fun times this summer!

- Tina

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