Thursday, October 23, 2008

Canadian province to spend $77 million to serve people with intellectual disabilities on waiting lists

From the Leader-Post in Canada:

REGINA, Canada -- The government will spend nearly $77 million to wipe out waiting lists that more than 400 people with intellectual disabilities face for housing or various specialized services, said Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer.

The funding, to be phased in over four years, will include a one-time investment of $27.8 million for capital projects, as well as $38.2 million in new operating funds.

The government will also develop a new income assistance plan specifically for people with disabilities, with the first phase to be introduced in 2009-10.

"We will be consulting with stakeholders in the design and rollout of this program," Harpauer said.

She said more than half the households that currently receive social assistance benefits include at least one person with disabilities.

Merv Bender, a member of the province's disability income support coalition, said the current social assistance program wasn't designed with the needs of people with disabilities in mind, he said.

"We want to focus specifically on persons with disabilities and hope in that discussion (we'll) be able to also have the government recognize that we need to have adequate rates and the best way to do that is to create a separate program."