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Shared Residential Living & the PeerMatch Process

Independent Counselling Enterprises operates many shared residential programs in each of the regions. These homes may have as many as 3 people living in them to as little as one person. For a person with special needs moving from home, either with parents or other peers, and moving to a new home with new peers can be very overwhelming. ICE’s goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible for people interested in our services. This transition is called the peermatch process.

During the initial intake meeting between the individual, their support network, and an ICE representative, information is gathered about the individual. This information is used in the peermatch process to effectively find a home and peers that the intake applicant feels he or she can live comfortably with.

Based on the intake information provided, the ICE representative will set up peermatch visits to ICE homes that have vacancies. A vacancy is a space at a home that is created when a roommate moves or intends to move out of the home in the near future. At the initial meeting, the prospective peer meets the residents of the home and has the opportunity to view the home itself. In some cases a peermatch visit may be set up in another setting like a restaurant or the ICE office just so everyone can focus on meeting each other to see if the peermatch is compatible. If the peermatch is compatible then the prospective peer may view the home. The choice of where to hold the peermatch is the decision of the peers currently living at the home and their support network.

The most important piece to the peermatch puzzle for all peers involved is choice. As all peers are adults they have the right to choose who they live with and where. The roommates with the vacancy can choose who is to live with them and the peer who is looking at the vacancy has the right to choose if they will live at the prospective home. Sometimes individuals need a couple of peermatch visits to make a final decision. There is no limit to the number of peermatch visits that can happen. No commitment is made until everyone has agreed that they can live together. Once that decision has been made then the new peer will sign consent forms and a service agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of, the individual, guardian (if there is one), and the agency.

Other information will be given to the individual and support network like expenses of the home ( room and board), furnishing requirements (bed and dresser, etc.), and staffing hours of the home. The Community Support Coordinator/Team Coordinator will meet with the individual and their support network around the time of the move in day and go over goals and an action plan for the individual. Expenses will be collected such as security deposit, room and board, and a move in date will be set for the new peer to enter a new phase into his or her life.