Grassroots Community Inclusion
Grassroots moves into new phase-
Income support and individualized funding focus of research and community development
For seven years HRDC has given funding to each province and territory to facilitate a move towards the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the community. In Saskatchewan, the project is the Grassroots Alliance. Operated by SACL and supported by SARC, CLD and People First, the project has produced “amazing results,” says coordinator Judy Hannah.
With a view to changing the focus of the project towards systemic change, the federal government asked all of the inclusion projects across the country to take time during the 2005-06 year to consult with communities to determine the primary barriers to inclusion that remain. Starting in May of last year, the Grassroots Alliance hosted a series of community consultations, asking professionals and families in six communities around the province what barriers they see in their community and in the province. Meetings were held in Yorkton, Regina, Weyburn, Kindersley, La Ronge and Prince Albert. In addition, separate meetings were held with self-advocates and youth to ensure that their voices were heard.
Attitudes and bureaucracy topped the list of barriers, with partnerships, education, employment, programs and services, transportation, respite, accessibility and volunteers following behind. In addition, two observations were made. Few people mentioned the need to have people with disabilities involved in the move to full inclusion-a surprise to organizers¬-and the viewpoints of families and professionals were dramatically different. Further meetings were held and participants helped to narrow the list of priority issues.
“This was not an easy process as each issue was seen as being very important,” says Hannah. “In the end the committees decided to focus on issues where changes would make the most impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Moving income support out of the welfare system (bureaucracy) and moving towards an individualized funding system (programs and service) were the final choices. We anticipate that making the desired changes in both of these areas will be a multi-year process but all partners are committed to working towards system changes.”
For further details on the Grassroots Alliance, contact Judy Hannah, co-ordinator, (306) 955-3344; fax (306) 373-3070 or email [email protected]
To find out more about the Community Inclusion projects, visit the national website at http://www.communityinclusion.ca/
To read our research report on individualized funding and income support, click here
SACL through the Grassroots Alliance Committee has brought together disability advocates and organizations to develop the Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC). To read more about DISC, click here.