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From time to time, the Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN) is asked to distribute information on behalf of third parties. WRFN provides general information to self-advocates and families of children with special needs. The information provided on this website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider. WRFN is not responsible for any information or services provided by third parties. You are urged to use independent judgment when considering any resource.



Extend-A-Family-FamilyHome Program

Over the past 40 years, we have made so many amazing connections with organizations and community members across Waterloo Region. One of the things we value at Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region is meaningful connection. We want the people we support to have a place in their community where they belong, are valued for their contributions and have connections. 

Time and time again, we have seen how our community has rallied together to support one another every day and in times of need. We’re reaching out to you and calling on our community to help share about some urgent needs in the FamilyHome Program.

The FamilyHome Program is an opportunity for adults who have a developmental disability, to live with a family in the community. For over 30 years, FamilyHome at EAFWR has connected adults with developmental disabilities to families who want to share their homes and lives. 

Right now, we have several folks we support who are in urgent need of a new home and family to live with it. The reality is that they don’t know who they will be living with, or where they will be in the next few months. We are urgently seeking community members to join us as FamilyHome Providers. This is where you come in.

We have created a video to highlight these needs in FamilyHome. We would love it if you could please share with your teams and your networks. Every share makes a difference and helps us to reach the community in Waterloo Region and beyond. 


Click here to watch the video.


We want to make sure that those who are in need of a home can be matched with someone in our community who has a safe space in their home that is big enough for a roommate, and a generous space in their heart that is big enough for a new family member.  


So where do we come in?

Hello! I’m Tristan, the newest member of the FamilyHome team - specifically the “FamilyHome Recruitment and Networking Coordinator”. I’ve got a long title because community-based work involves a lot of moving pieces! Let me break it down:

Recruitment: Everything I do is about finding more and more host families (& Respite providers) for FamilyHome! It’s not just about running an ad in the newspaper, though. It can be:

  • Any kind of promotion on conventional media - radio, newspaper, etc. Ads, letters to the editor...
  • Any kind of promotion on social media - videos, flyers, outreach to specific interest groups, answering questions, hosting online events...
  • On-the-ground community outreach - posters at cafes, public speaking at community events…
  • Building up specific individuals’ friend groups to be able to take them in as host families
  • Helping improve and diversify the FamilyHome program, so it keeps up with the flexible needs of people both accessing and providing homes - as well as provides a means for community contribution to a broader demographic of new volunteers

Networking: There’s a big overlap! Networking can look like:

  • Connecting with and providing education to local organizations - neighbourhood associations, other non-profits, faith groups, political offices, advocacy groups…
  • Providing easy-to-share info about FamilyHome for people to send to their friends, co-workers, families…
  • Building up specific individuals’ community involvement so that they’re seen making valuable contributions to others
  • Reaching out to independent landlords, seniors, new homeowners...
  • Building up the self-advocacy skills of interested individuals at Extend-A-Family to act as ambassadors for FamilyHome
  • Connecting with disability self-advocate organizations to spread the word

When I’m not working, I’m still networking! I volunteer with a medieval re-enactment group called the SCA, and in the past I’ve been a member of social justice groups like Basic Income Waterloo Region, the Gender-Variant Working Group, and Spectrum. I’ve done advocacy work around student housing, Indigenous land rights, and much more - always focused on people raising each other up for a better life together. I run both workshops on anti-oppression, and collaborative gaming groups - and in both I always ask the question, “What would the world be like if we all knew we belong somewhere we love?”

Even when I’m relaxing, it seems to creep in: I’m part of the Mansion Greens community garden, write short fiction that makes heroes of people who usually get overlooked, and accidentally find new postering options when out on hikes. Only my cats (three) are spared from my efforts!

If you’re curious about FamilyHome or how to help, I want to hear from you! I’m best reached by email at tristan.fassel@eafwr.on.ca, or by phone at 519-741-0190 ext. 250. I can also be found on Facebook.

Leah Bowman at 10:28 AM
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