Like other local community services and programs for individuals with developmental disabilities, KW Habilitation started with a group of concerned parents within the Kitchener-Waterloo area. These dedicated and hard-working parents came together with concerns about their children’s needs and the fact that there were little or no community supports available to meet them. By forming an association, these parents grew and pioneered the development of programs to improve the lives of their children and began the long process of educating the public about the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.
1950s to 1960s
Through the financial assistance and support of the Kinsmen and a great deal of fund-raising, these dedicated families were instrumental in establishing two schools, in the late 1950s and mid 1960s, that would provide day programs for children with special needs.
KW Habilitation was incorporated in July 1971, with members being equally elected from the KW Kinsmen and from the KW Association for Community Living. The original core programs established by KW Habilitation were the Development Centre for Children, the Kinsmen Training Centre (a sheltered workshop for adults) and the David Fisher Residence that supported 25 adults. These initial projects taught the agency that, while community integration can sometimes pose many challenges, the increased quality of life of the individuals made it all worthwhile and plans were made to develop more community homes. Over the years KW Habilitation has modified and expanded its programs to provide a range of residential services and day programming options to meet the changing needs of persons with developmental disabilities and their families.
2000 – Today
Today, KW Habilitation has over 500 employees and provides service to approximately 1,000 individuals and their families. Almost 80% of KW Habilitation’s operating budget is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Community and Social Services (MCCSS). Additional revenue is obtained through other government funding, contract work, donations, and fundraising activities.
KW Habilitation is incorporated as a non-profit organization with a cross- section of knowledgeable people serving on the Board of Directors. The agency’s main office is located at 99 Ottawa Street South, in Kitchener, Ontario.