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

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

Regina development will feature suites for 10 young adults, will allow people to live independently

Nick Popowich, centre, and his father and mother, Greg and Elizabeth, can't wait for the new 10-unit Regina condo development to be completed. (Cory Coleman/CBC)

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."

There's a sod-turning in Harbour Landing for a building that's not quite a group home and not quite a condo development. It will be home to 10 adults with intellectual disabilities including Nick Popowich. He and his mother Elizabeth talk about what this will mean to them. 10:36

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?"

Residents officially break ground on their new home in Regina on Wednesday. Construction on the 10-unit condo development for adults with intellectual disabilities in the Harbour Landing neighbourhood is expected be be complete by 2020. (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."

Bree Warsaba and Lindsay Ast are two of the people who plan to move into a housing complex in Regina's Harbour Landing for people with intellectual disabilities. They spoke with CBC about what they hope their new home will be like. 4:26

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."