Adrian smiles for the camera at The Ex in downtown Toronto.
Jan 24

The Urgent Need for Affordable Housing for Canadians Who Are Deafblind

Adrian smiles for the camera at The Ex in downtown Toronto.

Adrian smiles for the camera at The Ex in downtown Toronto.

When Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC) opened its doors in 1992 its goal was to provide affordable and accessible housing for Canadians who are deafblind.

But with only 16-units available it was impossible to serve all of the 400,000 Canadians who have dual sensory loss; individuals who are both legally deaf and legally blind.

Since those first days CHKC has grown exponentially to provide additional programs and services to the 16 tenants who live at 422 Willowdale Ave. as well as the 18 outreach consumers who live in the province of Ontario.

In addition to housing, consumers at CHKC have access to Intervenor Services daily. The number of hours varies and is based on individual needs. This allows consumers to access their communities more independently.

But housing continues to be a focus of CHKC’s mission and vision, as it looks towards a brighter future where people who are deafblind can live just as securely as those who are more able-bodied.

In 2022 CHKC secured Federal funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative to build a state-of-the-art 56-unit housing complex in the Lakeshore-Etobicoke neighborhood of Toronto located at 150 Eighth Street. The goal is to provide even more affordable and accessible housing to the deaflblind population.

To people like Adrian Cosentino who, as a person who is deafblind since birth, has struggled with finding affordable housing his whole life.

“Through Intervenor Services Adrian is able to live as independently as possible,” says Lessette Morales, Consumer Support Specialist at CHKC. “But the lack of affordable and accessible housing for people who are deafblind means that Adrian is vulnerable to homelessness. That’s why we’re here, to support him through the intricacies of Toronto housing. There is still more work for us to do and we are committed to succeeding for Canadians who are deafblind.”

Providing an opportunity for individuals like Adrian did not previously exist, but this new initiative has opened many doors for those who live with dual sensory loss and who can benefit from affordable and accessible accommodations.

“I’m looking forward to applying to live at 150 Eighth Street,” says Adrian. It’s something that I’ve been waiting a long time for.”

To apply to live at CHKC, visit our website at and click the ‘Housing’ tab located on the top menu bar.

Lessette continues, “With additional housing we can ensure that people like Adrian can live more independently and safely. People who are deafblind are vulnerable members of our community
and providing our consumers with adequate housing is one of our top priorities. This new funding will allow us to meet more people’s needs and that is something Ontarians should be proud of.”

Individuals who are deafblind, like Adrian, deserve the right to live independently, and CHKC is dedicated more than ever to making that possible.

To apply to live at CHKC, visit our website at and click the ‘Housing’ tab located on the top menu bar.