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NDP slams Liberal policy of closing group homes

The Liberal government must act now to address the growing crisis for developmentally disabled British Columbians by putting an immediate stop to further group home closures and beginning a review of how Community Living B.C. is being run, say the New Democrats.

“The Liberals’ chronic failure to effectively manage CLBC has come at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens,” said New Democrat community living critic Nicholas Simons. “We’re calling on the Liberals to immediately stop pulling supports that safeguard adults with developmental disabilities in B.C.”

Simons and New Democrat leader Adrian Dix called for a moratorium on group home closures and a review of CLBC during Question Period in the legislature this week, given the impacts that 65 group home closures have had on the developmentally disabled community, with as many as 200 people having been forced out of their homes already.

“The closures have been compounded by the deep cuts to transitional and individualized funding supports,” said Simons. “Making matters worse, the Liberals have shuffled responsibility for CLBC to four different ministers in the past year, including two since Christy Clark became premier only seven months ago.

“It’s causing a great deal of uncertainty, and sadly shows that the most vulnerable people in British Columbia don’t matter to this government. While they continue to flounder and pass the buck repeatedly on the CLBC file, our province’s most vulnerable are left to pay the price," said Simons.

Simons said the Liberals are not meeting the needs of adults living with developmental disabilities when shortsighted policies have jeopardized their health, safety and inclusion in society.

“Families living with disabilities are looking for a real commitment from this government, but their calls have not been met with any urgency. The only time we see action from the government is after families take their fight to the media. It’s a piecemeal approach that does nothing to address the real crisis at hand,” said Simons, pointing out that waitlist numbers released Thursday show more than 2800 people who are either receiving no service or are being underserved by CLBC.

“Certainly the media can’t cover all 2800 stories. We need the Liberals to do the right thing and get serious about solving the crisis at CLBC. A full review would be a good start.”