Advocates fear cutbacks put the disabled at risk
Published Tuesday, August 30, 2011 4:45PM PDT
Advocates for the disabled say there are fears that vulnerable people across the province may be forced out of their group homes because of cost-cutting by the B.C. government.
Michelle Traynor's 65-year-old brother has spent decades at his Aldergrove group home, but she says that he and other residents have been assessed in recent months to determine if they would be able to live elsewhere.
"He would probably die from a broken heart -- that's what would happen," Traynor said.
"All the fellows that live here, they need 24-hour care. There's no way in the world that they don't."
Since the assessments were performed, she's learned that her brother won't have to move out, but staff cuts mean residents won't be going out as often.
"They have been cut to the bare bone now. They've already had budget cuts and now they've been cut even more," Traynor said.
Similar assessments have been done at Williams Road Group Home in Richmond, prompting fears the facility could be closing from the families of the four developmentally disabled adults living there.
The BC Association for Community Living says their concerns are shared by many other families.
"I don't think a day goes by when we haven't had a call in the last four months," executive director Faith Bodnar said.
She says the reviews are part of a cost-cutting process that has been going for years, and that group homes are targeted because they're more expensive than other types of care.
"I think that the capacity of communities and organizations that support them to adjust and accommodate these changes is gone. There's no more room here and I think that we're putting people in danger."
The province says it's reviewing the needs of every person who requires this sort of support.
"We're trying to make sure that everybody receives the level of service that's required for them," Premier Christy Clark.
"Needs change. Some people want more independence than they're currently getting. We should be meeting that expectation."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber