'I just want to live like everyone else:' Condo project for adults with intellectual disabilities underway

Nick Popowich can't wait to spread his wings

Right now, the 29-year-old lives with his parents in Regina. But if everything goes according to plan, he'll soon be living in an innovative 10-unit condo development, designed with his needs in mind.

"I'm really excited," Popowich told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Wednesday. "I just want to live like everyone else."

While many people with disabilities live in group-home settings, the new development will give residents their own one- or two-bedroom condo, linked together by a common area for socializing.

Input Housing Corp. — a volunteer-operated non-profit — is behind the development, which officially broke ground on Wednesday in Regina's Harbour Landing neighbourhood. It's expected to be completed by next year, and will be home to 10 young adults who will live semi-independently, with individualized supports.

Input Housing will oversee the operation of the building, in conjunction with a condominium board, according to the non-profit's website.

The project began after a group of parents started talking about long-term planning for their now adult children.

"It started as a conversation on the back deck, like, 'How does this look? What do we want for our kids?'" said Elizabeth Popowich, Nick's mother. "Can they live somewhere near each other?"

Cory Coleman/CBC

She said the setup is considerably different than usual.

"An institution is where somebody else makes all the decisions, including when you get up and when you go to bed and what you eat," she said.

"In this place, everyone has their own condo, they have the keys to that condo and that's their private living space."

As far as Nick is concerned, he's already focused on the future.

"My big plan is to settle down and get married to my girlfriend," he said. "I think it's a great place to be."