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Friendly Housemates

Friendly Housemates: when Krystal Nausbaum moved out of her family home nearly two years ago to live with a friend from her high school, she knew it was a big step.

Both women have intellectual disabilities. Although it was her first time on her own, Nausbaum, 27, was comforted by the fact they’d be joined by a third housemate, Maggie Sulc, who’d act not as a caregiver but a mentor — a peer they could learn from and who would lead by example.

This type of living situation is now the subject of a research program, called Friendly Housemates, by Community Living Toronto and Centennial College, that matches people with intellectual disabilities and post-secondary students to live together for one year.

“Maggie helped me a lot with my social life and personal relationships,” said Nausbaum. “I learned way more, doing more household jobs.”

Nausbaum has Down syndrome, but felt in no way limited by it. Instead, she was excited to live “without mom around.”

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