Up to $35.6 million from the B.C. Government will be available through Community Living BC (CLBC) to support providers of residential services including home-sharing, group homes, and supported independent living.
As part of the Province’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan, the funding will be distributed through CLBC and be available for over three months.
The B.C. Government said the money will help support about 9,500 adults with developmental disabilities that are in supported independent living.
“This pandemic has had a significant impact on agencies and home-sharing providers who perform essential care and services, creating challenges for people with developmental disabilities and their families,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This funding will ensure that quality of care and staffing levels are maintained so that the people who depend on these services remain safe and supported.”
CLBC service providers that offer residential services, including group homes can directly request funding to address overtime costs, staffing shortages, as well as access additional supplies for delivering disability-related supports.
“I want to recognize the tremendous effort over the last month on the part of service providers to modify services and home-sharing providers to provide the care necessary to keep people safe,” said Ross Chilton, CEO of Community Living BC. “It will be reassuring to many families to know that agencies and home-sharing providers will be supported so that they have capacity to respond to needs during these challenging times.”
“The last six weeks have reinforced the critical role of the community-living sector in keeping people safe and supported,” added Karla Verschoor, Executive Director of Inclusion BC. “These emergency funds will allow organizations to continue providing essential services during the coming months.”
The B.C. Government said many home-sharing providers are taking on extra caregiving requirements, due to the need to follow health guidelines. That’s been made difficult with the disruption of services including day programs, and the increasing difficulty to acquire necessary resources. Any home-sharing providers can apply for temporary funding to support their ongoing work.
“This funding responds to the needs expressed by community-living service providers in order to safeguard some of B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Brenda Gillette, CEO of the BC CEO Network. “It will ensure we can continue to deliver essential front-line support.”
Some residential services are managed through individual funding arrangements. The B.C. Government said those people can also access emergency funding.
In addition to the $35.6 million, the Province is also providing $125,000 to the VELA Microboard Association of B.C. for their Support Worker Central web platform. An online database, designed to match families, individuals, and agencies with support workers, the B.C. Government said the microboards are small groups that great non-profit societies to support adults that have developmental disabilities.
CLBC is currently working to launch the process in which people can request funding by April 27, 2020. Successful applicants and recipients will be able to access the funds retroactively back to April 1, 2020.