A new approach to the construction of community-based small option homes will allow Nova Scotians with disabilities to move into community sooner

Health And Wellness

**** CNS Media Release

New Home Designs for People Living with Disabilities
A new approach to the construction of community-based small option homes will allow Nova Scotians with disabilities to move into community sooner.

The Disability Support Program has procured two custom designs for modular homes that will meet the needs of residents and be developed more quickly than traditional construction.

“As more people move to living in a community, we want construction of new homes to be as efficient as possible,” said Karla MacFarlane, Minister of Community Services. “Having these home designs in place supports our government’s commitment to community living and phasing out large institutions.”

Both designs will enable up to four residents to live in accessible, energy-efficient homes that meet program and licensing requirements. Construction of the first five modular homes will begin this summer in the Annapolis Valley, South Shore, Halifax and Cape Breton areas. People are expected to move in early next year.

The modular home designs were developed by RHAD Architects and DORA Construction Limited. DORA’s team included Passive Design Solutions and Eastcut Wood Building Solutions. RHAD Architects’ team included an in-house team of architects who are certified as Passive House Designers and have Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification. Both teams received input from staff and residents of the Disability Support Program for small option homes.

Modular homes are built off site and then assembled on site, but a completed home functions the same as its traditional counterpart. They are built to the same standards as traditional homes, but factory construction allows more efficiency, lower costs and less exposure to the elements during the building process.

“We are very excited about our partnership with the Department of Community Services. At DORA Construction, our biggest passion is community building, and you can’t build a proper community without inclusion. The Disability Support Program is a fantastic initiative, and it is essential to improve the lives of those who are often overlooked. We are extremely proud to be able to assist and use our expertise to create housing for people with disabilities, especially in this housing crisis we are facing in our province.  We can’t wait to see this project come to life.”
​ ​ ​ ​ ​ – Eric Burchill, Vice-President, Planning and Development, DORA Construction Limited

“RHAD Architects is honoured to have their modular design concept selected as one of the universally designed homes for people of all abilities and their respective support staff for the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services. We have worked alongside DCS and our modular suppliers to design affordable homes that will meet the needs of current and future residents, while creating a space that is flexible, intuitive, comfortable and light-filled.”
​ ​ ​ ​ ​ – Rayleen Hill, Principal Architect, RHAD Architects

Quick Facts:
— the Department invested $160,000 in the modular home designs to speed up the construction process by having homes that will already meet licensing standards, federal building codes and Disability Support Program design requirements
— there are currently 232 community-based, small option homes in Nova Scotia
— as part of its ministerial mandate, the Department of Community Services is responsible for providing services under the Disability Support Program
— budget 2022-23 invests an additional $54.2 million in programs that support people living with disabilities
— small option homes are community-based housing units where three to four people living with disabilities are able to live independently, with day-to-day support services from qualified staff

Additional Resources:
3D renderings of the modular home designs: https://news.novascotia.ca/photos/2022/08/31/new-home-designs-people-living-disabilities

Disability Support Program: https://novascotia.ca/coms/disabilities/index.html

Mandate Letter of the Minister of Community Services: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-DCS-OLA-SOW.pdf

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