By:  John Campbell

Trent Hills Independent, August 13, 2015

Campbellford – Community Living Campbellford/Brighton will receive close to $400,000 over the next two years to create, in collaboration with Campbellford Memorial Hospital, a centralized hub of supports for aging individuals with developmental disabilities that will allow them to continue living independently in rural areas.

Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, made the announcement Monday at the Campbellford Community Resource Centre.

She also announced that the Canadian Mental Health Association, in partnership with Community Living organizations in Peterborough, Haliburton and Kawartha Lakes, is receiving up to $188,800 over the next two years, to give young adults the opportunity to learn daily living skills such as cooking and banking that will enable them to live more independently in their community.

The two are “demonstration projects in essence” that the province is counting on to be successful so that “they can be replicated on a larger scale” across the province and “help more people in the future,” Jaczek said.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to housing.” The challenge for the government “isn’t just about finding more supports, it’s about finding the right kind of supports for each individual.”

People with developmental disabilities have unique needs “and we need more choice and flexibility to find a solution that is right for them,” she said. “We must look beyond the traditional forms of housing with new ideas and find new partners in the community because we know that inclusion begins where we live and it can only happen if we work together … I’m optimistic that we’re really on the right path.”

Nancy Brown, executive director of Community Living Campbellford/Brighton said the agency’s partnership with the hospital will increase its capacity to meet the “critical needs” of people with developmental disabilities who are aging. Designed to allow direct support by professionals around the clock, the “community hub housing model will prevent premature admission to long-term care,” reduce “avoidable” emergency room visits and improve the care and quality of life of people living on their own.

Brown told the Independent Community Living will hire a consultant to determine how “to move forward” with its plans, which involve working with the hospital through its new Trent Hills Community Geriatric Assessment Intervention Network (GAIN).

The network, which recently received provincial funding as well, provides both clinical and in-home services in support of older adults who have multiple complex medical issues. Brown said the community hub model being developed will “allow for six individuals to move into more of an independent setting,” at separate locations within a 20-kilometre radius, “to eliminate that group-congregated setting … that has a label.”

Community Living will also use its $398,973 allocation to hire staff to fill the equivalent of five full-time positions.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get up and going,” Brown said, but she would like to see the hub in place “within the next three months.”

The two projects were among 18 recommended for funding by the province’s Developmental Services Housing Task Force that was formed last year to help expand the range of housing options and choices for adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario.

The government has committed up to $6 million over the next two years province wide for demonstration or research projects.

Those chosen in the first round “clearly demonstrated their creativity and innovation as well as offered the best opportunity for learning, which is very important, [and] value for money,” said Karen Belyea, a member of the task force.

The lessons learned will be used to develop a broader set of residential options in the long term.

There are an estimated 65,000 adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario; approximately 18,000 receive developmental services residential supports.