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IRIS is supporting the design and evaluation of ‘local to national safety and inclusion solidarity networks’ (LNSISNs) in communities across Canada. Led by grassroots front-line service providers and community members of diverse marginalized populations including people with intellectual and other disabilities, these initiatives aim to: 1) enhance economic security; 2) improve health; and, 3) prevent and more effectively respond to violence.

Current Projects

Pathways to Homeownership Demonstration Initiative

Pathways to Homeownership Demonstration Initiative

Timeframe: January 2019 to December 2021

This Demonstration Initiative seeks to increase the capacity of the housing sector to improve housing stability, affordability, and choice for people with developmental disabilities by replicating innovative models of homeownership. It will help make homeownership attainable for more Canadians with developmental disabilities by generating and spreading knowledge about how these models work.

With financial support from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Past Projects

Working Together: Combating Structural Violence against Indigenous, Racialized, Migrant Women and Women Labeled with Intellectual and Psychiatric Disabilities

Working Together: Combating Structural Violence against Indigenous, Racialized, Migrant Women and Women Labeled with Intellectual and Psychiatric Disabilities

Timeframe: January 2015 to December 2018

Objective: To ensure that key service providers have increased knowledge on the nature of abuse, barriers, challenges and service gaps for women in target communities and that the target women’s groups have been connected, have established a working relationship – locally and nationally, and have gained and strengthened skills to identify and respond to abuse, as well as plan for their safety.

No Woman’s Land

No Woman’s Land

Timeframe: March 2015 to March 2018

Objective: To explore the real stories of refugee women living in Ontario, their experiences of sexual violence in refugee camps prior to migration, and its traumatic effects resulting in mental health and other disabilities, through a multi-disciplinary performance piece and call to action entitled No Woman’s Land, which used dance, video and verbatim theatre.

Our Right to be Safe!

Our Right to be Safe!

Timeframe: January 2012 to December 2015

Objective: To mobilize local communities and sectors involved in violence prevention and response to implement a coordinated, local-level community response to violence and abuse by identifying and removing access barriers so as to increase all women’s participation and safety in their communities.

Our Health Matters!

Our Health Matters!

Timeframe: January 2012 to December 2014

Objective: To develop resources, education and training sessions aimed at persons with disabilities as well as key health care professionals to pursue secondary prevention of cancer involving early detection and increasing access to cancer screening.

Toronto – A Place to Call Our Own: Empowering Women to Take Action for Affordable Housing

Toronto – A Place to Call Our Own: Empowering Women to Take Action for Affordable Housing

Timeframe: November 2016 to December 2019

Objective: To bring together women’s advocacy groups and front-line service providers to develop a strategy for addressing the lack of access to, and the number of affordable housing arrangements for women in Toronto, ON. Working with key decision-makers from the private sector to act upon the recommendations consolidated through research by collectively designing a practical, realistic and feasible strategy to increase access to housing for women coming from diverse communities in Toronto.

Read the Toronto – A Place to Call Our Own research report

Read Learning Network Brief 35 “Women with Disabilities & Housing” written by Doris Rajan of IRIS

People with Mental Health and Cognitive Disabilities & Access to the Justice System – A Review of the Literature

People with Mental Health and Cognitive Disabilities & Access to the Justice System – A Review of the Literature

Timeframe: January 2015 to March 2015

Objective: To develop a rich understanding the attitudinal, communication, procedural and policy barriers that hinder people with mental health and cognitive based disabilities’ access to justice, focusing on initial contact in times of conflict or crisis.  In addition, to compile related promising practices across Canada.

Download literature review here.