WINDSOR — Lisa Gretzky, NDP critic for Community and Social Services and MPP for Windsor West, attended a meeting Monday night where self advocates, families of adult children with disabilities, service providers and various agencies shared concerns about the lack of funding and support for adults with disabilities and their caregivers with Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith. Gretzky released the following response:
“Last night, many individuals who live with a disability, or care for a loved one with a disability, plead with the Ford government’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services to stop ignoring their needs.
For too long, adults with disabilities, their families and the agencies that support them, have been left out in the cold by their governments. The Liberals failed to increase the budgets of developmental service agencies for more than a decade and failed to provide affordable, supportive housing for adults with disabilities, letting the waitlist balloon to more than two decades long, and failed to establish transition funding for individuals aging out of children and youth supports — young people with disabilities who turn 18 are forced to prove they still have a disability, and wait for years with no help for their adult supports and services to kick in.
The Ford government’s deep cuts to social service agencies and mental health funding, their ignoring the urgent need for affordable, supportive housing and transition funding for Ontarians with disabilities turning 18, is making things so much worse for these individuals and their families.
Participants at last night’s meeting shared harrowing stories of financial hardship as they waited for adult Passport supports to kick in, of a Passport funding application process that is difficult and invasive, of feeling like a second-class citizen because they have a disability. They spoke of caregiver burnout, of not knowing who will care for their child when they’re gone and the need for the Ford government to pass my private member’s bill, the Noah and Gregory’s Law, to eliminate the cut-off in supports when an individual with a disability turns 18.
Todd Smith has sat on his hands while Ontarians with disabilities and their loved ones endure unthinkable hardship, emotionally, physically and financially. Todd Smith has heard these families’ desperate calls for funding and support. He heard them again last night. It’s well past time for his government to take action, and for Doug Ford to invest immediately in transitional support, supportive housing and proper funding for social service agencies.”