For the four people who live there, Sunshine House provides stability, consistency and the chance to stay in the community where they grew up.
The non-profit residence for adults with physical and mental disabilities in Mansonville, Que., opened in 2014.
It was spearheaded by Stanley Lake, who needed a long-term plan after more than 30 years of taking care of his daughter, Mikayla, at home.
But Sunshine House's full-time caregiver, paid for by the regional health authority for the Eastern Townships, will not have their contract renewed when it ends in 2021.
"We have everything to lose," said Lake's wife, Almut Ellinghaus, who has been Mikayla's stepmother for almost 20 years. "We just have, once again, to fight."
She describes the last two years of talks with the health authority, the CIUSSS de l'Estrie-CHUS, as a "roller-coaster."
The parents say going back to home care would be too much for them to handle.
"We thought we had created a stable environment," she said. "Now, with the stroke of the pen, it seems to be gone."
Mikayla was born with a brain injury due to a cytomegalovirus infection in utero, which left scar tissue on her brain and interrupted her development.
"I've seen lots and lots of people with brain injuries, and I have to consider myself very fortunate, because she is a very affectionate and happy child," Lake said.
She was raised at home and attended public school, while getting near-constant stimulation and undergoing patterning therapy.
Lake, 74, said the guiding principle of Sunshine House is for Mikayla and the other residents to be cared for after their parents pass away.
"We are talking about the step after home care, and we thought we had created that," said Ellinghaus.
"We had battled for it … and we had achieved it."
A long-term plan
Lake said there was a stark difference between his daughter's development while she was raised at home, and her peers who were institutionalized.
He fears negotiations with the health authority could lead to Sunshine House's residents ending up in such institutions.
"Institutionalization is so lacking, in my belief, of stimulation, and the care and comfort that an individual needs," he said.
"This is the direction that our clients might be heading to, unless we can salvage this project."
If he was to put Mikayla in a form of foster care, run as a business, there's no guarantee that she would be able to stay there on a long-term basis.
"For a person with intellectual challenges, to have stability in their life, to have an environment that is known, is very beneficial," Lake said.
"To be uprooted after a year, or five years, or 10 years, into another environment can be very problematic for them, and not healthy, and not sane."
Ellinghaus said the Sunshine House project would not have been possible without help from the community, but it has still been a struggle.
"If you are a parent of a special needs child, you are forced to become an advocate, all your life," said Ellinghaus. "It's a huge learning curve, but you're not given a choice."
Lake said that after spending eight years working with the province to come up with a care model for the residents before opening in 2014, they're now being forced to start over.
"We've done what we were told to do, and now we're being told, after six years of operation, 'nope'," he said.
The parents will meet with officials from the health authority in September, but they worry the decision has already been made for them.
Ellinghaus said the plan now is to contact every local and provincial official they can think of, to convince the government to renew the care worker's contract.
CIUSSS de l'Estrie-CHUS spokesperson Geneviève Lemay told CBC News that different options are being considered for the future of the residents of Sunshine House.
She said those options will be discussed with Sunshine House in due time, and that officials will make the best decision for the residents.