Ending the Wait-An Action Report to Address the Housing Crisis Facing People with Developmental Disabilities
“Ending the Wait: An Action Agenda to Address the Housing Crisis Confronting Ontario Adults with Developmental Disabilities”: An Announcement and Request for Support-Courtesy of OM21, Parent Group in Mississauga, Ontario
As media reports and an Ombudsman’s investigation suggest, Ontario’s long-standing shortfalls on services for adults with developmental disabilities have reached a crisis stage. This is particularly true with respect to residential supports – where 12,000 people have been on “waiting lists” that have grown steadily longer over several decades (to the point where aging caregivers in their 70s and 80s are still shouldering 24/7 responsibilities).
In mid-2012, a “Housing Study Group” was created by the Partnership Table that regularly brings together representatives of the Ministry of Community & Social Services and the developmental services sector (including agencies and community/family groups). Asked to investigate this critical problem, this Housing Study Group met regularly from the fall of 2012 through the summer of 2013 and emerged with the report posted here: “Ending the Wait: An Action Agenda to Address the Housing Crisis Confronting Ontario Adults with Developmental Disabilities.”
The “action agenda” dimension of “Ending the Wait” is its crucial heart – incorporating concrete, practical recommendations that would allow meaningful and timely measures. It will take years to fully address the cumulative housing crisis confronting Ontarians with developmental disabilities (and their families), but significant steps are required immediately in order to reduce severe current pain and to prevent its perpetual multiplication.
As it seeks to work with the Ministry of Community & Social Services on concrete implementation of recommendations, the Housing Study Group believes wide dissemination of its “action agenda” would enrich public discussion of the current crisis as well as problem-solving efforts directed toward it. We invite you to read the report, to pass along your thoughts to the email address included in it, AND (if you are in agreement) to communicate your support for implementation of recommendations to the appropriate government leaders:
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier
The Honorable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community & Social Services
The Honourable Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
OM21 played an important role in the production of a report on this housing crisis entitled Ending the Wait
The Housing Study Group that produced the September report recently met with the Honourable Ted McMeekin, the still relatively new Minister of Community and Social Services. Although the Study Group was disappointed about the lack of immediate budgetary commitments to fulfill the “action agenda” recommendations, the Minister did make it clear that he was fighting vigorously for significantly expanded resources in the 2014 provincial budget – and he felt that there would be meaningful progress at that point. He also committed himself to the creation of the “Capacity Building Task Force” that was an important non-budgetary recommendation of the Housing Study Group. This task force is designed to bring together government, agency, and family representatives with local government leaders, building industry representatives, and people from the financial services sector – along with other government ministries like Housing and Long Term Care – to devise concrete plans for addressing the housing crisis. It should be a useful step, although the government will have to provide serious financial resources to fund the Task Force recommendations.
It would be helpful to have as many voices as possible urging government leaders to take action on this front. With that in mind, we are including here the initial report sent to you about the Housing Study Group and the “Ending the Wait” report.
Please send letters and emails to the government leaders identified: this WILL make a difference if large numbers of messages are received.