Community Living Mattawa was founded in 1969 and originally incorporated as the Mattawa & District Association for the Mentally Retarded by Letters Patent in February 1976.
Surrounding the time that the Association was incorporated, a group of concerned individuals were working very hard to open the doors of the Adult Occupational Center. This became a reality in March of 1978 and provided a workshop-type atmosphere for adults identified as having a developmental handicap. The Center was funded as a Pre-Vocational Life Skills Program under the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Over the years as the staff, clients and needs have changed, so has the focus of the Program. Various activities have included wood-working, cooking, crafts and baking to name a few. The overall intent was to increase the level of independence, confidence and abilities of each person attending the Program.
Following the lead of our national and provincial bodies, the process began in March 1988 to change the name of the Association to: Mattawa & District Association for Community Living
The primary intent of this move was to remove the label from people who have a developmental handicap. In addition, it reflects the renewed commitment towards the closure of institutions and the relocation of residents to community-based homes.
Planning began in June of 1988 to expand the services provided by our Association. Construction began in October of that same year on Bissett Street Residence, and in March 1989, six young adults moved into their new home. The Residence is a fully accessible home, providing supports 24 hours per day to individuals with multiple handicaps.
As a result of putting the Residence in place, it also became necessary to expand the size and the services of the Life Skills Program, providing these individuals with a place to go during the day. An Adult Developmental component was added.
In 1990 plans got underway to purchase and expand the Life Skills building on 10th Street. Complete renovations were done to the existing building and a 30’ x 64’ addition was added. The new facility provides program space for 24 clients, as well as the Administrative offices of the Association.
A second home on Brydges Street was purchased and renovated to accommodate four new residents, relocating from Muskoka Center, as part of the Government’s multi-year effort to close institutions in the province.
The emphasis of the Life Skills Program was restructured in 1993 to include a Community Alternatives component. The intent is to provide vocational, recreational and/or volunteer experiences for individuals with a developmental disability. These activities are supported by staff members and initiated based on individual choice.
In September 2004, the Association revised its’ name to: Community Living Mattawa
In November 2005, the Association’s proposal for a Foundations Program was approved and we began offering transitional supports to young adults leaving the school system. A partnership was formed with the Mattawa Youth Centre and office space was rented to start the program. The Foundations Program works with the youth and their families to develop Transition Plans that will bridge them from school to community life, including employment supports and educational opportunities of their choice. In June 2009, the Board of Directors purchased the old ‘Sears’ building on Valois Drive from which to deliver the transition supports.
The Association has unofficially offered Supported Independent Living services to individuals living in their own homes or apartments. In April 2006, Community Living Mattawa received funding dedicated for 3 SIL spaces, and in the 2007-08 fiscal year re-aligned the Life Skills funding to offer SIL supports to up to 8 individuals. In 2010-11, all after (program) hours supports provided were transferred to the SIL budget, which now supports 10 individuals in the community.
In 2010, MCSS provided new base funding to begin providing Respite Coordination services for children. These supports are delivered, one day per week, with the Valois Drive property as its home base, to 5 families.
In 2011, Executive Director Laura Pierce retired after 25 years. David Spencer was hired as the new Executive Director.
The Association also saw Children’s Respite funding flow directly to Community Living Mattawa allowing 3 families to receive the funding for their respite workers locally rather than from North Bay.
In 2012, the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan was completed. The apartment above the Foundations program was renovated and individual in the Association’s Supported Independent Living program moved into the apartment.
Community Living Mattawa presently offers 24-hour residential placements to ten (10) individuals, Supported-Independent Living supports to ten (10) individuals, day program supports to twenty-four (24) individuals, Foundations Transitions supports to five individuals (5) and respite coordination to three (3) families.