On September 20th, the Home Sharing Support Society of British Columbia (HSSSBC) hosted their inaugural “Connect and Collaborate” session focused on understanding home sharing contracts. Over 300 individuals registered for this informative session, during which a wealth of valuable insights and information was shared. The session featured presenters from CLBC, a community living agency representative, and an experienced home sharing provider, all contributing to a robust discussion aimed at enhancing understanding the contracting process and navigating home sharing agreements.
Some key takeaways from the session:
CLBC’s Key Role in Home Sharing: Funding and Oversight
The Community Living BC (CLBC) is a provincial organization that plays a central role in the home sharing system by providing essential funding and oversight. This involves providing the necessary funding but also monitoring the home sharing system to ensure it consistently meets quality standards.
In the contracting process, CLBC primarily engages with community living agencies (service providers). These agencies, in turn, contract with home sharing providers (HSPs) to deliver services to individuals. This contracting structure is designed to ensure the efficient delivery of services in accordance with CLBC’s standards.
The Contract: overview
Community living agencies contract directly with home sharing providers to provide home sharing services. The contract consists of three key parts: Contract, Terms and Conditions, and Schedules. These cover services, payment, relationship dynamics, reporting requirements, privacy, and more.
- Contract: Outlines the services and their payment.
- Terms and Conditions: Defines the relationship between CLBC and the service provider, including their obligations.
- Schedules to Terms and Conditions: Cover quality and reporting requirements.
Agencies May Have Differences in Their Contracts
Many agencies use a contract template. Others may have their own version of a contract template to better align with their business practices. For example, some agencies may not require home sharing providers to renew their contract each year, while others do. Some agencies may require a doctor’s note if the individual is taken to the hospital by the home sharing provider, while others don’t. These differences highlight the flexibility within the system to cater to the unique needs of each agency and the individuals they serve.
Monitoring and Reviews: Ensuring Quality Care
Expect monitoring and reviews as part of your home sharing contract. This process includes:
On-Site Access: Coordinating agencies will conduct in-person visits to your home sharing setting to ensure quality care. These visits occur within 30 days and then 90 days of moving in, and annually (at minimum) for health and safety monitoring.
Frequency Variability: The frequency of monitoring varies based on factors like perceived risk, changing individual needs, or raised concerns.
Documentation Matters: Keeping It Clear
Clear documentation requirements are vital for ensuring quality care. These requirements are outlined in your home sharing agreement/contract and in the CLBC standards.
Agency Paperwork: Agencies may have their own paperwork for you to complete. To help you stay on track, they should provide checklists and open lines of communication to keep you informed about what’s due and when.
Role of Home Sharing Providers
Home sharing providers are individuals or families who open their homes to people with developmental disabilities. They share their lives, experiences, and offer support. Their role is crucial in providing a nurturing environment for individuals with developmental disabilities. Home sharing providers are appointed as independent contractors, granting you control over your work, but remember you’re not an employee and won’t receive employee benefits or a T4.
Isolation of Home Share Providers
During the session the home sharing provider pointed out that HSP’s often feel isolated and unsure of who to turn to. They feel that they are not represented enough in many things, specifically in contract designing and negotiation. More help is required, and there is a need for networking among home sharing providers.
The home sharing providers in the audience also voiced the same concerns in the session survey and were hopeful for future sessions that educate them more about the contracts, advocacy, and joining working groups to get their voices heard and improve home sharing overall.
Agencies want to help
Agency representatives pointed out that although they can’t give legal advice on the contract, they can explain and clarify most of the clauses to their home sharing providers. Agencies who also filled the survey voiced their willingness to help home sharing providers understand the key clauses. You should have direct communication with your coordinator in cases where there is anything in the contract that you don’t fully understand. Don’t feel pressured or obligated to sign a contract that you don’t understand.
HSSSBC: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation
The Home Sharing Support Society of British Columbia (HSSSBC) played a pivotal role in bringing together over 300 participants during their first monthly “Connect and Collaborate” session. This session underscored the organization’s commitment to actively shaping and sustaining the home sharing landscape in British Columbia. Many participants expressed a strong desire for more in-depth and directed sessions in the future, recognizing the potential for these discussions to generate meaningful and innovative ideas that will further enhance the home sharing experience for all partners. HSSSBC’s dedication to facilitating such discussions reflects its role as a catalyst for positive change within the home sharing community in BC.