"Independent" living to take on new meaning
Some say the cuts will run deep.
A change in funding for Cowichan Independent Living means the non-profit will be moving to a smaller location and cutting employment services that help people with disabilities find jobs and enhance their access to social networks.
Doreen Glasspoole has relied on CIL before and wants the community to fight for the programs she considers essential.
“Duncan needs this, I don’t care how old you are or who you are, sooner or later, whether you’re rich or poor, you’re going to run into a situation that you… can’t get through. And they can,” she told SunFM News. “They are the go between us and the government and they supply a lot of support for the people that need it.”
An employment case manager, Anne Matheson, said a province-wide change in employment funding from the Ministry of Social Development is driving the cuts, which she believes will affect not only services for their clients but also the atmosphere.
“Some of the ‘extras’ that would be nice to have such as the computer lab, the recreation program, the drop-in kitchen, we just can’t have, so we’re down more to the basics.”
She said they’re now forced to sell off sailboats and other sporting equipment they use to provide recreational activities for people with disabilities.
“We have something called trail riders, where people who aren’t able to go hiking anymore but would just love to get out into the forested areas, they can go on these trail riders: You have somebody on either end, pushing or pulling and with a big wheelbarrow tire,” she explained.
A spokesperson with the Ministry of Social Development confirmed that a change in employment programs launched in April is having a province-wide effect. Matheson said they are still looking for a new place to house the downsized CIL office and will announce the location at a future date.
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