AROHA: Incorporated Entities for Personal Empowerment and Support

The most valuable resource for a person with a disability, as for anyone, is a circle of friends or personal support network. For someone who is vulnerable, it may be good to consider incorporating an entity to supplement or succeed the role of parents in ensuring the person has a good life.

The first Aroha in Ontario was incorporated in 2002 with and around a man in Guelph. This Aroha has shared its experience with other circles of families and friends who want to incorporate. One condition of an agreement with GSA for a home of one’s own is that the person has an Aroha.

An Aroha entity can be helpful in many circumstances, whether or not it is a person wants to live in a home of his own. Each vulnerable person and situation is different and unique.

What can an incorporated Aroha do for personal empowerment and support?
In essence, by ensuring that available resources and supports are used for the individual, in keeping with her/his wishes and needs—now, and into the future, after parents are no longer available to take care of the many details that add up to quality of life.

First, members and supporters of the Aroha entity ensure that the person with a disability has ways to understand options and make decisions about her/his life. We recommend a supported decision-making agreement. 

Second, an incorporated Aroha entity can have legal powers to:
a) receive and administer individualized funding directly from Government 
b) administer trust funds set up by families
c) be the employer of record for support workers
d) own and maintain property such as the home of the person with a disability
e) make contracts and agreements with independent service providers  and consultants
f) make contracts with facilitators and agencies that may provide “second-level” supports
g) carry liability insurance.

Excerpts from introduction to chapter in CREATING A HOME AND GOOD LIFE OF MY OWNStrategies and formal agreements developed by Guelph Services for the Autistic in its role as housing trust (2008). 
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