A local Foundation is raising funds to support the construction of a new accessible home for enVision.
Jeannette DeLong is the Executive Director for enVision Community Living in Steinbach. She says that a number of the people enVision serves have mobility challenges.
"Sometimes when we start to provide services for people, they're fully mobile and there’s no need for accessibility," explains DeLong. “And then as people age or as health conditions come in, then sometimes people need to have access. So we really need to have more accessible homes available for people that we provide services to.”
In 2020, the enVision Foundation raised funds for a different accessible home, which is still in the planning stages. DeLong says it just takes that long to acquire a home, and that’s why they need to get a second home funded already. "So we can address some of these critical needs. We'd really like to see a lot of support for this."
DeLong adds that enVision had raised funds for a different accessible home about seven years ago, saying, “The community was phenomenal in their support.”
She says that was a real success story for enVision Community Living: "There were three young men who had been dreaming for years that they would live together, and they needed full accessibility. It's been such a success, how those three men have been able to participate in community! It's really changed their lives in terms of what they can participate in and quality of life and being able to move about in one’s home – being able to get to all the rooms, having a kitchen, living areas, and washrooms that you can use fully."
Accessibility means more than wheelchair access. DeLong explains that it also means having the appropriate equipment in the rooms as well, "so staff don't get hurt lifting and transferring people, and so the people we serve don't get hurt because there's the right equipment in place."
DeLong says the arrival of the pandemic was a challenge to the “community living” aspect of enVision: "COVID changed a lot of things here because everything shut down, so all the ways we supported people to be active members of the community and to participate in organizations and associations and events… all those things sort of stopped."
She says now they are in the process of emerging from hibernation at enVision: "We’re trying to figure out how to do community life safely and help people get reconnected."
DeLong adds that the pandemic also provided ideas for future fundraisers as well: "We're much more technologically savvy now, and so are the people we provide services to, so to take advantage of that, what kind of technological equipment and tools can we plan for an investment in the future so the people we support can be more independent with the use of technology?"
In the meantime, DeLong says they’re on the lookout for a home that might meet enVision’s accessibility requirements: "A lot of homes just aren't set up that way. A build allows us a little more freedom to make it what we need it to be."
DeLong is passionate about ensuring the people enVision serves are supported, and their families are supported as well, through the project of raising funds to build a second accessible home for the charitable organization.
“It really is a project that makes a lot of difference in people's lives,” shares DeLong. “If you want to make a contribution to something that really matters and makes a significant difference, this project is it. Your money will go to something that has a tangible difference. It makes a tangible difference in somebody's life.”
To help create a more inclusive community by supporting enVision’s fundraising efforts, please visit https://envisioncl.com/