Spectrum Society’s mission is to support people with disabilities to experience full citizenship and genuine belonging in community. We are committed to continuous learning and improvement through research into leadership and best practice. As a service providing agency, our focus is on strengthening the capacity of individuals and their personal networks, augmenting rather than replacing natural supports.
Spectrum Society for Community Living is a registered non-profit society and charitable organization, formed in 1987 by a small group of friends and family members interested in developing community-based services for people with disabilities.
In the early 1980s, the provincial government committed to closing three of its large institutions (Tranquille in Kamloops, Glendale Lodge in Victoria, and Woodlands School in New Westminster). Over the next decade, the government made funding available to community agencies to develop housing and support services so people could leave the institution and enjoy a better quality of life.
From 1988 to 1996, Spectrum helped 23 people move out of Woodlands into homes in Vancouver. Woodlands closed its doors in 1996, making British Columbia the first province in Canada to close all of its institutions for people with developmental disabilities.
About a third of the people at Spectrum came to us directly from provincial institutions. In addition to Woodlands, we’ve also assisted people to move out of Pearson Hospital, Willow Clinic and Riverview Hospital.
We also work with many families and individuals who are already living in the community. They include people who may be at risk in their current living situation, people served by other agencies who want a different model of support, youth in transition from school to adult services, and people facing a variety of other life circumstances.