On May 16 INTA organized its 13th INTAkawa on inclusive housing for people with autism in partnership with Récipro-Cité and Autisme Rhône Lyon Métropole. This alternative solution between independent living at home and collective living in an institution allows the person with a disability to live in their own home without having to compromise on the specific care and support needs and ensures, in addition, their integration in the local neighborhood.
Inclusive housing is a kind of cohousing concept developed for the inclusion of isolated people (elderly, people with a handicap or illness...). Three main characteristics define inclusive housing: a collective house where people have their own accomodation; the delivery of housing needs incorporated with assistance, care and supervision; and active insertion into the neighborhood.
Cohousing is also a sort of participative housing which promotes the project of living in a community through the means of a special building where common areas are just as important as private areas. The inhabitants can choose to live in a community as their own free choice.
This solution is presently not well developed but its implementation is a necessary innovation for the inclusion of everyone in the city; it is therefore important to imagine ways to implement it, by drawing a model path around the partnerships and procedures required, and concrete solutions for the realization of this habitat, adapted to autism.
In France, a few projects have already been developed: read about the example of Chamarel, a cohousing for the elderly. Judicial reforms, such as the ELAN act, are being considered by the French National Assembly to promote this kind of housing solution.
The INTAKAWA workshops allowed participants to think about the specific challenges of this kind of housing. They raised a number of questions, notably the particular difficulty to identify each person's needs, as well as the need for continuity in the inclusive housing offer. Questions about deciding the level of each person's automomy and about the real benefit from diversity were also raised.
Since each form of handicap is different, and autism is a spectrum, the future inhabitants should be precisely targeted, to build the housing project according to their specific needs. Also, the specific needs of the professionals that work in the housing project should also be reflected. This would ensure the inhabitant's safety and could offer better working conditions to these carers. The autonomy of the inhabitants should also be great enough to live in the housing project: the definition of this point should be worked on, with training.
In short, the most challenging issue of the cohousing is the need to offer an equal standard of care should to everybody. This can be achieved with a complete re-imagining of care and support, as well as maximum targeting of inhabitants. These challenges should be addressed for inclusive housing to be fully functional. If the project is thoroughly thought out and takes into account all the specific needs of each person, it can be inclusive enough to offer a viable housing solution for people with autism.
// Download the synthesis (french)
// More about inclusive housing (french)
Following this workshop, Recipro-Cité organised an innovation forum "the intergenerational habitat, between inclusive housing and participative housing" in partnership with the University Lyon 3, on June 26 in Lyon. On this occasion, the Secretary General of INTA was able to express the position of INTA on the consideration of health and well-being in the city and the link between urbanism and health in a broader sense that takes into account innovative solutions and new ways of living, which were at the heart of the discussions of these two events. He raised the need to connect innovations and solidarity, and of new mechanisms of equitable partnerships, as well as new coalitions of actors, public, private, entrepreneurial, from civil society, and academics. The exchanges conducted and the presence of actors from all these fields during these 2 events show the beginnings of these coalitions. But the road ahead is still long.