Community Services deputy minister Lynn Hartwell testified all day today at the human rights inquiry into the lack of community living options for people living with disabilities. We learned that very little has been accomplished since the department published its disability roadmap some four years ago. She’ll be back at it tomorrow, and so will the NS Advocate.
And another day at the human rights inquiry into the lack of supportive housing for people with disabilities. Two mothers talked about the horrors of institutionalization, in particular the circumstances at Quest in Lower Sackville. Wendy Lill mostly talked about policy issues relating to the disabilities roadmap, a government policy document written at that brief point in time when community advocates had some real hopes that things would get better, only to be disappointed once again.
Today’s update on the NS Human Rights Commission’s enquiry into the lack of supportive housing for people living with disabilities. We learn that their former supportive housing provider wanted the folks languishing at Emerald Hall to come home, and we hear one parent talk about her worries that at some point in time she will no longer be able to take care of her son.
Some residents of Emerald Hall,a locked psychiatric ward in the Nova Scotia Hospital, have no reason to be there, except for it being a convenient solution for the province. Their human rights case is crawling along because Community Services is using stalling tactics, a community living advocate charges.
Kimberly Smith, proud father of Brendon, a 28 year old man who is labeled as living with developmental disabilities, writes about a conversation he had with Joe Rudderham, the executive director of the Disability Support Programs at Community Services. The interview is included. “As for the developmentally challenged and elderly, we are definitely heading toward a monumental iceberg and time to act is running out. We do not have to crash and sink in poverty and illness… We can rise up and help each other prosper,” writes Smith.
In an open letter to the Premier a group charges that government isn’t serious about supporting persons with developmental disabilities who are looking for community-based solutions rather than being warehoused in large institutions. he Department of Community Services isn’t even meeting targets it set earlier and that were publicly endorsed by minister Joanne Bernard, the letter states.
Persons living with developmental disabilities and their advocates feel seriously betrayed by the wishy-washy commitment of Community Services to the execution of the so-called disabilities roadmap.
Kendall explains why he is so upset that a caseworker is allowed to question and override the special diet recommendation of his doctor. “It portrays people like me as sick, defective and deviant, as an object of professional intervention.”
MLAs of all parties formally ask Community Services to reinstate funding for the NS Association for Community Living.