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Supported Housing

Beginning in 2017, Autism Nova Scotia began to research and facilitate a series of community conversations on the urgent need and current state around supported housing for Autistics Nova Scotians.

This work began with the Supported Housing Summit: Imagining Better and Living A Good Life. The Summit was broken into 2 days several months apart, with a broad consultative feedback period between the 2 events; opportunities to help ignite a cross-community, collaborative conversation about the future of housing for persons with disabilities.

It saw the release of a White Paper on Supported Housing which included a series of recommendations that are designed to help stakeholders and individuals understand the challenges and potential solutions for building to better supported housing and options for Autistic Nova Scotians.

Most recently, Autism Nova Scotia released the results of a qualitative survey of more than 100 Autistic Nova Scotians, who completed the survey independently or with a variety of supports and accommodations, to arrive at a fuller picture of their housing needs and desires–moving beyond a singular focus on “support needs” and towards a fuller framing of housing as directed by desires for choice and options.

Autism Nova Scotia is also currently working with Compass Cooperative Housing and Ren Thomas Consulting to conduct an analysis into the potential and possibilities for cooperative housing and community living. Results of this are expected in Spring, 2022.

This site acts as a hub for reports and other resources that look at supported housing for Autistics in Nova Scotia, offering reports and resources for anyone who wishes to know more or learn about the issue.

Housing Survey

A Survey: Understanding the Housing Needs and Desires of Autistic People in Nova Scotia

Meeting the Housing Challenge Downloads:
Executive Summary: Meeting the Housing Challenge
Full Report: Housing Needs and Desires for Autistic Nova Scotians
Supported Housing Event Summary


In 2021, Autism Nova Scotia and Dr. Karen Foster of Dalhousie’s Rural Futures Research Centre conducted a housing needs and desires survey of Autistics in Nova Scotia. 

This survey was opened to anyone with Autism who lives in Nova Scotia and was at least 16 years old. Caregivers and support networks were welcome to complete the survey as a support for an Autistic respondent. 

Respondents answered approximately 60 questions. 

What was the Survey About
This research explored housing needs and desires or wants of autistics in Nova Scotia. Its sought to provide autism service providers, housing and supports providers and government understand the range of housing needs and wants among Autistics, so that they can better plan housing development and supports that meet the needs and wants of Autistics. This survey was designed to ask questions about individual’s and their support networks experiences with housing, where and how you want to live in the future, and what challenges you see in the way of what you want. 

How Individuals Could Complete the Survey and Why
For those who required assistance to complete the survey, researchers and Autism Nova Scotia ensured there were several options of supports available. Respondents could: 

1) Have someone (a caregiver, parent, or support person) help answer the questions (online or in-person); 

2) Ask someone (a caregiver, parent, or support person) to help fill out the survey on their behalf;

3) Use a phone call option to have a researcher call directly and ask the questions, taking answers over the telephone;

4) Complete the survey on paper, mailed or emailed and printed for return;

5) Pick up a print copy at any Autism Nova Scotia office across the province

This survey complied with research ethics standards upheld by the Dalhousie Research Ethics Review Board, which identified no risks for participating. 

The benefits of the research were to help create a better understanding of the views, experiences, challenges, and hopes that people on the autism spectrum have about housing and supports. Survey responses were an opportunity to reflect on and make sense of experiences, and to figure out what kinds of housing options were right for an individual. Finally, the survey was meant to create a base of evidence that could contribute to the knowledge of experts, government and service providers who work in the Nova Scotia housing environment.  For access to the survey and questions about its findings and conclusions can be directed to Dr. Karen Foster at 902-233-0912 or email