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The Health & Home Care Society of BC (Care BC) launched their Community Integration Project (CIP) in the spring of 1999. This year we celebrate 15 years of helping individuals regain a place in the community through an innovative model of housing and support.

The CIP helps individuals with physical disabilities adapt to their housing and daily living needs while maintaining their quality of life. The CIP provides clients with the opportunity to live in one of two fully adapted units in St George's Place at Laurel Street and 14th Avenue in Vancouver. The units are close to Vancouver General Hospital and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre (where many tenants receive outpatient treatment) as well as local amenities such as shopping and recreation. The tenants have conditions such as Spinal Cord Injury, Acquired Brain Injury, Neuro-Musko-Skeletal Injury and other disorders. Funding for the CIP is provided by Vancouver Coastal Health as well as by generous donors.

Over the past 15 years, the CIP has supported almost 70 individuals and their families through rehabilitation. There's the story of a woman who, faced with the reality of learning to live in a wheelchair, chose to tackle each day with determination, a sense of humour, hope, and strength. There's the husband and wife who got to live together instead of being separated while in transition. There's the story of the mother able to spend time with and support her teenage son while he attended outpatient care. Being a CIP client means being able to leave the hospital sooner to spend time with family and friends, or avoiding an inpatient stay while still benefiting from the extensive rehabilitation support services available in Vancouver.

Jean Budden, MSW, Rehabilitation Consultant for Care BC, provides emotional and practical support to clients as they learn how to adjust to the changes in their lives. Our clients have ranged in age from 18-72 years old and average a 5 month stay. There is a strong need for services such as these, and they generally cost less than protracted hospital stays. However, there is difficulty in finding permanent, accessible and affordable housing that can accommodate people with complex care needs. We are proud to be able to operate the CIP to provide transitional housing for those with physical disabilities and are excited to see what the next 15 years brings.

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