Community Living Hamilton supports 1,400 people with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome and Autism. We are the largest service provider in Hamilton for these individuals and their families, and we are one of the largest not-for-profits and registered charities in our community.
With 330 staff members, 100 volunteers and valued community partners, we empower people with developmental disabilities to fully participate and contribute to their community. Together, we help build great lives. We encourage full inclusion through person-directed planning…. and promote independence and personal choice, so our clients can lead the lives they want.
Whether it’s living independently or in a group setting, working in competitive employment, or sharing in community activities, we are here to help people achieve their full potential and dreams.
Our Important Work
Community Living Hamilton began when a group of mothers came together in a church basement to explore how they could support each other and their sons and daughters with special needs. More than 60 years later, their determination, spirit and support are reflected in our wealth of programs and services that help build great lives. These include:
- Community day programs where people with developmental disabilities can plan and participate in social, recreational and skills development activities.
- Fee-for-service options such as weekly social gatherings and skills-building sessions.
- Essential respite care that eases the burden on caregivers and provides a safe, enjoyable experience for kids and adults.
- Residential care through group homes, family homes and support for independent living.
- Resource teachers and facilitators who support the inclusion of kids in licensed childcare settings.
- Valuable employment services, supports and more.
Vision & Mission
Our vision is that…
All persons live with dignity as citizens of their community, share in every element of living and have equal opportunity to participate.
Our mission is to…
Educate the community so that it recognizes that some people need more support than others, but all have a way to contribute. All can participate at their own level or in their own way. Community Living Hamilton promises to work with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families throughout their lifetime so that they can be free to:
- go to work
- practice their own individual religious beliefs
- make their own decisions
- have friends and people who care for them, and
- succeed in life!
This is achieved through:
- helping people build skills
- providing a range of services
- having partnerships in the community
- speaking up for and with people with developmental disabilities
Read our Strategic Plan Framework.
Advocacy for the Individual
Our services are built on personalized planning that aims to tailor activities to the wants and needs of the person we are supporting. We help individuals identify goals that are meaningful to them – such as education, vocation, recreation and personal fulfillment – then work with them to create plans to achieve their goals. Our advocacy includes such things as helping our clients find a job, obtain accommodation, enroll in recreational activities, manage their personal finances and navigate the various systems to ensure they have access to all available supports.
Advocacy in the Community
We work with various partners in the community so that people with developmental disabilities are included in all aspects of life. This may include working with employers to adapt practices to better suit people with disabilities, or working with the educational system and childcare sector to build capacity for more inclusive practices. It also involves partner consultations, on-site support, training and, above all, sharing knowledge within our community.
Advocacy in the Sector
We are members of provincial groups that strive to raise awareness of developmental disabilities and advocate for full inclusion of people with disabilities, such as Community Living Ontario and the Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS). These groups work with government ministries and elected officials to improve legislation and to enhance the funding and resources that support individuals with developmental disabilities. These groups also influence communities to be inclusive of everyone.
Board of Directors
Community Living Hamilton is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, which sets the organization’s goals and long-term plan.
2016/2017 Board of Directors
|Randy Allen||President||Retired entrepreneur/Insurance broker|
|Judy Colantino||First Vice-President||Vice-Chair, Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton
Chair, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Parent of adult son with developmental disability
|Katherine Scarth||Second Vice-President||Retired Secondary Teacher and Consultant
Parent of adult child with disability
|Joe Obermeyer||Treasurer||Plant Manager, Sun Chemical
Champion of inclusive employment
|Peter Jones||Director||Volunteered as coach for the Special Olympics|
|Megan Hemlow||Director||Megan Hemlow was elected to the Board of Directors in June, 2017. She holds a position in the Mental Health and Addiction program at St Joseph’s Hospital, and has a private practice of her own where she offers individual counselling. She has both a bachelor and masters degree in social work, along with a certificate of addictions.|
|Sherry Parsley||Executive Director||Community Living Hamilton|
We are always pleased to receive applications from people who want to join our Board of Directors. If you are interested, call our main office at 905-528-0281.
Join Our Team
Community Living Hamilton is the employer of choice in Hamilton’s developmental services sector. At Community Living Hamilton, you will become a member of a capable and engaged staff team that works to ensure people with special needs are included in their community. Any current job opportunities can be found below:
Student – Summer job opportunities:
If we don’t have any current job opportunities, we still encourage you to send your resume. We are always interested in hearing from qualified applicants, especially those possessing a DSW or SSW diploma, or post-secondary education in a related field combined with experience in the developmental services field. All applications are kept on file for a period of six months and will be reviewed in the event job opportunities become available. To apply to Community Living Hamilton, please email
Publications and Resources
View our Winter 2013 edition here: The Advocate Winter 2013
View our 2016/17 Annual Report here: CLH Annual Report 2016 2017
View our 2015/16 Annual Report here: CLH Annual Report 2015 2016
View our 2014/15 Annual Report here: CLH Annual Report 2014 2015
View our 2013/2014 Annual Report here: CLH Annual Report 2013 2014
View our 2012/2013 Annual Report here: CLH Annual Report 2012 2013
Audited Financial Statements
Strategic Plan Framework
Please click below to view Community Living Hamilton’s Strategic Plan Framework:
Strategic Plan Framework
Drop ’n Shop
Drop ’n Shop is a thrift store operated by Community Living Hamilton, in partnership with the City of Hamilton. We accept a wide variety of pre-owned and gently used items for sale, including kitchenware, books, jewellery, toys, furniture, clothing and other goods. All money generated from the sales at the Drop ’n Shop are reinvested in Community Living Hamilton services.
The store is located at the Community Recycling Centre on the East Mountain, 37 Kilbride Road (Upper Ottawa & Rymal Road) in Hamilton. We are open Mon-Sat 8:00am – 6:00pm. Telephone: 905-385-3434.
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