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B.C. improving inclusivity for people with developmental disabilities

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:05 PDT, Fri May 27, 2022

New provincial funding of nearly $5.3 million means more organizations can focus on creating projects that will make life better for people with developmental disabilities.

The funding will support Reimagining Community Inclusion (RCI) projects in the priority areas of inclusive housing, employment, health and wellness, inclusive Indigenous services, and a community-inclusion innovation fund, which focuses on inclusion projects.

"This funding will kickstart many good projects that will improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. "Our partners at the table are fully committed to advancing this complex work, which will ensure our province is a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone."

The RCI initiative was launched in May 2018 by the minister of social development and poverty reduction in collaboration with community living members throughout British Columbia.

The initiative's RCI steering committee includes self-advocates, families, community living service providers, Indigenous organizations, advocacy organizations, and government that identified a vision through to 2028 for "people with diverse abilities to thrive fully and equally with everyone."

Members were chosen by the co-chairs to ensure membership was representative and could assist in implementing the vision of RCI. Indigenous representation includes Community Living BC (CLBC) Indigenous Relations, B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability, and an Indigenous self-advocate liaison.

"We all have a role in advancing the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in our communities,” says Ross Chilton, chief executive officer of CLBC. “These are significant investments in the work of our partners to advance inclusive employment, improve access to affordable housing, support mental and physical health, and provide culturally safe Indigenous services."

CLBC serves more than 25,000 people in B.C. who live with a developmental disability, or who are diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or autism, and have significant limitations in adaptive functioning.

"As an Indigenous co-chair and member in the RCI project, I believe our team has made great progress,” says Sherwin Strong, Indigenous advisory committee member at CLBC. “With advances in supported living, traditional living, language, culture, and awareness, we will benefit from funding in employment, housing, health and wellness, as well as a variety of Indigenous-led services. We are thankful and honoured to provide the continued successes achieved in making our communities feel like home."

To read the Re-Imagining Community Inclusion report, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/social-development-poverty-reduction/re-imagining-community-inclusion-march-2019.pdf

For more on Community Living BC, visit: https://www.communitylivingbc.ca/

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