Two thousand people are waiting for help

But group says numbers are underestimating the size of the problem in B.C

The B.C. Community Living Action Group is calling for an external review of Community Living B.C., the provincial agency responsible for helping people with developmental disabilities.

The network of advocates made the call after Community Living B.C. released wait-list numbers showing more than 751 people with disabilities are not receiving government help and another 2,089 are waiting for more service. But the action group maintains the figures are inaccurate.

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"We have very little confidence in the wait-list numbers. They misrepresent the scope, scale and severity of the community living crisis affecting vulnerable adults and their families," said Faith Bodnar, spokesperson for the B.C. Community Living Action Group.

According to the action group, an estimated 38,000 adults with developmental disabilities in B.C. are eligible for help from CLBC, while only 13,696, or one-third, are receiving services because of government under-funding. Families provide 90 per cent of the help these people need, often around the clock.

Local MLA Harry Bloy ordered Community Living B.C. to release the waitlist numbers before he was removed from his post as social development minister, a role that oversees services for people with developmental disabilities. The agency provides services including employment training, residential support and behavioural or psychological help.

The B.C. government maintains it is increasing funding, but critics say it's not enough to keep up with demand.

"The Liberals' chronic failure to effectively manage CLBC has come at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens," said Nicholas Simons, NDP critic for community living. Simons called for a moratorium on group home closures. CLBC pays for staffed residential services, where people with developmental disabilities can live in a group home setting with onsite staff. The average cost per person in a group home is $109,000 per year, and CLBC has been closing group homes to save money. According to the Simons, CLBC has closed 65 group homes with 200 people.

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