Alberni community living association welcomes provincial funding announcement

Port Alberni Association Community Living executive director Dominic Rockall welcomed the provincial government announcement of more money for organizations that help the developmentally disabled but says more is needed.

Port Alberni Association Community Living executive director Dominic Rockall welcomed the provincial government announcement of more money for organizations to help developmentally disabled people. But the B.C. Association of Community Living says more help is needed.

The Port Alberni Association for Community Living might be getting a boost from the B.C. Ministry of Social Development.

The ministry announced it is spending an additional $8.9 million on services for people with adult disabilities, a news release noted.

Some $6-million is coming from the province and $2.9 million from deferred CLBC Personalized Supports Initiative funding.

The money will provide new supports and services to about 540 people across B.C. Priority is being given to those with urgent health and safety needs and others who are eligible but not yet receiving services.

The news is good but bigger news would be better, said Dominic Rockall, executive director of the Port Alberni Association for Community Living.

“I’m aware that there has been a lot of lobbying going on about this so this is great to hear,” Rockall said. “It’s helpful but a lot more help is needed.”

PAACL delivers programs and services for 140 special needs children as well as 120 adults with developmental disabilities.

“We always have to run on a tight budget,” Rockall said.

The announcement was just made so Rockall couldn’t say how the local association would benefit from the new funding, but he had some ideas.

It could help if one of the association’s facilities required modification to accommodate wheelchair tracking, or medical appointment chaperone and travel for a client.

“It would also help if you had a family with a youth who is becoming an adult but had no supports; there may now be funding for that,” Rockall said.

The new funding is a baby step in the right direction, said Faith Bodnar, the executive director of the B.C. Association of Community Living.

“The announcement is a far cry from the $70 million that is required to address the needs of families and individuals who are not receiving the supports they need,” Bodnar said.

The funding will help families who are in crisis, but a broader strategy is needed to ensure a better life in the community over the long term.

“Otherwise it is a Band-Aid approach that does not make good economic sense in the long term,” Bodnar said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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