Emergency supports for home share, support service providers in B.C.

PROVINCIAL emergency COVID-19 funding will be distributed through Community Living BC (CLBC) to ensure people with developmental disabilities stay supported and safe during the pandemic.

As part of the B.C. Government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan, up to $35.6 million will be available over three months from CLBC to support service providers to continue delivering residential services, including group homes, home sharing and supported independent living that about 9,500 adults with developmental disabilities count on.

“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, on Tuesday. “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.”

Under this temporary emergency support, CLBC service providers who provide residential services, such as group homes, can request funding to address overtime costs or staffing shortages and to access additional supplies for delivering disability-related supports to keep individuals safe.

People with developmental disabilities who live independently with the help of agency-supported living services have also been identified as vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency funding will support service providers to adjust and continue supports to keep these people safe.

Many home-sharing providers are taking on extra caregiving requirements. This is because of the need to follow health guidelines, the disruption to services, such as community inclusion or day programs, and difficulty in acquiring resources that people usually access in their communities. These home-sharing providers will be able to apply for temporary additional funding to ensure people under their care remain supported.

In some cases, these residential services are managed through individualized funding arrangements or person-centred societies, rather than service providers. They will also be able to access emergency funding to maintain residential services.

As well, the Province has provided $125,000 to VELA Microboard Association of B.C. to enhance its Support Worker Central web platform. Microboards are small groups of family and friends (a minimum of five people) who create a non-profit society to support adults with developmental disabilities. This is an online database designed to match individuals, families and agencies with support workers in their communities.

CLBC will work with agencies and launch the process to request funding on April 27, 2020. Funds are available retroactive to April 1, 2020.

Ross Chilton, CEO, Community Living BC, said: “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. 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.”

Brenda Gillette, CEO, BC CEO Network, added: “This funding responds to the needs expressed by community-living service providers in order to safeguard some of B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens. It will ensure we can continue to deliver essential front-line support.”

Karla Verschoor, Executive Director, Inclusion BC, noted: “The last six weeks have reinforced the critical role of the community-living sector in keeping people safe and supported. These emergency funds will allow organizations to continue providing essential services during the coming months. Inclusion BC applauds the government for its support of our member organizations.”

Quick Facts:

CLBC funds three kinds of residential supports:
* Staffed residential (group homes): 240 service providers support about 2,700 people living in 900 group homes (which usually house up to four people) throughout B.C. People who choose this option generally need quite a bit of support for daily living. Staff are available throughout the day and night.

* Home sharing: 470 service providers provide support for about 4,500 home-sharing arrangements, where a person shares a home with an individual, couple or family that is contracted to provide supports for daily living.

* Supported living: About 2,100 people live independently in their own home and get supports for daily living from about 300 service providers.

For more information on how to access applications for support through CLBC, visit: https://www.communitylivingbc.ca/emergency-funding/