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Brief History of Regional Residential Services Society

The Regional Residential Services Society (RRSS) was founded in 1978 as a result of the joint efforts of Municipal and Provincial Departments of Social Services, and the Halifax, Dartmouth, and Bedford-Sackville branches of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL).

Following a year of planning and development, RRSS began service provision in late 1979. The first services to be operated were those that had been previously run by the three CACL branches:

Vernon Street
............................ since 1973 for 8 Residents
Abbott Drive ............................ since 1976 for 9 Residents
Hawthorne Street
............................ since 1976 for 8 Residents
MacDougall Avenue ............................ since 1979 for 7 Residents

In February and April 1980, RRSS proceeded with the earlier plans of the branches and opened Basinview Drive and Pleasant Street, each housing eight individuals. This development was quickly followed in December 1980, with the addition of the services of Epiphany House Association. This organization brought to RRSS Oxford Street Group Home, housing twelve people, and the Supervised Apartment Program serving seventeen people.

In April 1982, RRSS opened Robert Allen Drive, a home designed for seven persons. This was the last Home for Special Care opened by RRSS.

Since 1982, planning for further growth and improved quality has continued with a focus on smaller, more individualized, living options and the down-sizing of several larger homes. The summer of 1985 saw the opening of the first small option within RRSS. Since that time the Alternate Living Program (ALP) has grown from one home for three individuals to 32 for a total of over ninety persons. From both the experience of RRSS and that of other residential services across North America, it is clear the smaller options of three persons or fewer, are the way and challenge of the future. These smaller options aid in facilitating quality, integrated life experiences on behalf of the citizens of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) who have an intellectual disability.

Since 2003 RRSS has begun to turn its efforts toward outreach activities that will support individuals either living with their families or managing their own living arrangements through supported decision making. An array of services is presently being developed that will support this more individualized direction.