Options for Independence is a Yukon Government funded Not for Profit Organization (NGO) established in 1999 to provide Supported Residential (Housing ) Program for adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Supportive Housing is permanent affordable housing combined with a range of supportive services that help people with special needs live stable and independent lives. The Society‘s mission is to provide adequate, safe and secure accommodation to its residents. This mission embraces that supportive housing transcends just providing a roof over the head and identifies three (3) major goals of support:
Housing Stability: To ensure housing stability, OFI staff assist residents in meeting their housing obligations, such as, paying rent, maintaining peace in the building and caring for their suites.
1. Safety: This goal recognizes the vulnerability of our population to such challenges as sexual exploitation, financial abuse, drugs and alcohol, exploitative relationships and, among others, violence. OFI ensures the safety of its residents and the residence by maintaining a 24 hour staff monitoring presence. Staff is present at all times to:
- Assist any resident in distress.
- Intervene timely to de-escalate conflict,
- Watch the door for visitors who may be intoxicated, violent or known traffickers of drugs or some such contraband.
- Patrol the residence to ensure noise is kept at a minimum
- Look for potential hazards and damage to the residence itself
- Inspect the residents' suites for cleanliness and fire and any other safety concerns
There is a surveillance or camera monitoring system that helps the staff maintain and enforce safety at OFI
2. Improve Quality of Life: This goal entails staff support in areas which are frequently of concern for people with FASD. These areas include; health, social well-being, access to community services, and among other things, employability.
3. Network of Support: The residents need other services such as case management, counseling, addictions treatment or management, family and cultural connections, which OFI staff may not be able to provide. OFI works closely with the following organizations to that end (not an exhaustive list
- Health and Social Services-Services to Persons with Disabilities Unit of the Yukon Government
- Fetal Alcohol Society of Yukon-FASSY
- CHALLENGE Vocational Community Alternatives
- Yukon Association for Community Living-YACL
- Champagne Aishihik First Nation
- Teslin Tlingit First Nation
- Kwanlin Dun First Nation>
- Yukon Council on Disability
- Second Opinion Society of Yukon
- Alcohol and Drug Services
- The Whitehorse RCMP Detachment
- Indian and Northern Affairs Yukon
- Some of our residents' families
An Option for Independence
A collaborative approach towards this goal will not only benefit our residents. It will also benefit the larger Yukon Community by mitigating the potential for our residents, like everyone else with an FASD, to be negatively involved with the criminal justice system, drug and alcohol and other secondary disabilities.
Except for safety and housing obligations, residents’ interaction with staff is voluntary or largely non-supervisory. Be that as it may, staff work to create opportunities for positive interaction with all residents or engage in assertive outreach, to help them achieve the three major goals of the program highlighted above.
- Tenants choose as much or as little services as they desire – without having to move as their service needs change.
- Services are voluntary for the tenants – not the staff. Engagement is an ongoing activity to establish and sustain relationships.
The benefits to people living at OFI are legion. They include:
- Case managed services tailored to the individual's needs
- Stability through consistent service and staffing (Most of our clients have been with us since earlier than 2006).
- Enhanced independent living skills
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Access to 24/7 staff support
- Increased sense of safety and security
- Enhanced linkages to other professional services
- Increased opportunities for socialization
- Sustained access to ethno-specific supports and community.
Whereas we have no available places at all times, we are always open to receive applications.
VISION, MISSION & GOALS
- To provide residents with a safe and secure housing environment that encourages and optimizes their independence.
- To provide a program of structure and support within the OFI residential complex that will help keep the residents, staff and visitors safe
- To invite and encourage a sense of openness, mutual respect, and community at OFI.
- To intervene when residents make choices that jeopardize their own or others safety or well-being.
- To team up with other volunteer and professional support organizations and individuals in providing appropriate harm reduction and individual support strategies to OFI residents.
- To participate as part of a service delivery team that encourages and supports residents to live up to their full potential.
- To network and share experiences with other agencies, groups and individuals and invite others to participate with the society in assisting and supporting OFI residents.