Young Londoner has been waiting years for housing
At 21, Londoner Paige Cunliffe is surrounded by senior citizens.
She lives in a long-term care home, where care is geared for the elderly, not the developmentally challenged.
It took three years for Paige to find a home and it will take a lot longer for her to find the right one. She’s already been waiting eight years for the appropriate housing.
That's because she's essentially waiting for somebody to die - somebody with her level of disability - before she can get into the right type of program.
“There’s absolutely no stimulation for her here. It is strictly a care facility,” says her mother Pam Cunliffe.
Once she graduated from school, access to many supports ended and she joined thousands of others on waiting lists for community living.
“She continues to remain on those waiting lists; however, there is no improvement, no light at the end of the tunnel at this point. It’s just a wait,” her mother says.
Pam’s biggest fear is that Paige won't get the stimulation she needs
Paige moved to Henley Place in January and once a week she participates in outside programs with her peers.
She isn't alone. There are about 2,500 adults with developmental disabilities living in long-term care homes across the province.
The government has committed an additional $800 million to help find 1,000 people homes.
But the opposition says, the Liberals don't have a plan and are just throwing money at the problem.
“They're putting the money forward, but it’s money without a plan,” says Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek.
He points to a committee report that calls for a task force to explore more community-led solutions, with both short- and long-term housing.
He blames the government for forcing families like the Cunliffes to settle for inappropriate care.
“This is something that needs to be dealt with. It’s been left on the table for too long. There are families suffering. They are in crisis, which further creates a bigger burden on families.”
The money promised in the last budget is the biggest boost to developmental services ever.
With a $2 billion annual budget, the government aims to eliminate waiting lists completely for special services at home in two years, which will enable more people to stay in their homes. But it doesn't have a target date for long-term residential waiting lists.