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Through The Cracks

 

Through the Cracks

The United Church Observer has recently published a long form article looking into the challenges faced by Canadians with intellectual disabilities. The Observer spoke with CACL’s Tyler Hnatuk about these challenges in obtaining housing and support to live in their communities. Through the Cracks, draws attention to the plight familiar to many families as they struggle to assist a family member to pursue a good life in the community.
 
This retrospective article reminds us that much has changed….for the better. Large-scale residential institutions are no longer the primary way that Canadian society responds to the housing and support needs of people with intellectual disabilities. Likewise, much progress has been made in assisting people to pursue education, employment and careers and a life in the community.
 
And yet, as this article shows, we have a long way to go. Poverty is still the most common reality for the vast majority of Canadians with disabilities. Employment rates for people with intellectual disabilities have been stuck for decades hovering in the range of 25-30%.  Throughout the country, thousands of Canadians with intellectual disabilities languish on “waiting lists” for basic support to live in the community.
 
It is also widely acknowledged that the tools that families and community organizations developed in the last century—segregated schools, sheltered workshops, group homes and congregate residential services—will not get us where we want to go in this century. As young people with intellectual disabilities graduate from high school today and envision the life of their choosing—education, a career, a home of their own, relationships and contributions to their community—there is a major gap between vision and reality.
 
Initiatives such as Ready, Willing and Able aim to change this reality. Ready, Willing and Able is a partnership between the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance to support employers to hire people with developmental disabilities. Through Ready Willing and Able, and other initiatives like it, CACL works in partnership with a movement of families and individuals and a cross-Canada network of provincial/territorial and community organizations to forge new pathways to bridge the gap between vision and reality that so many experience. As a family based association assisting people with intellectual disabilities and their families to lead the way in advancing inclusion in their lives and in their communities, CACL will continue to support people and their families to envision a life of inclusion, and work to make fully inclusive communities a reality.  
 
CACL is pleased to share this article from the United Church Observer and grateful for the awareness that it generates on these important issues.

See The United Church Observer website for the full article