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Nova Scotia still needs more disability housing, advocate says

The group No More Warehousing says many people with phsycial disabilities are living in nursing homes meant for the elderly
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The group No More Warehousing says many people with phsycial disabilities are living in nursing homes meant for the elderly.

"There really are people as young as 18 living in nursing homes unfortunately," says No More Warehousing co-president and disability advocate Emma Cameron.

Cameron says this is because the Nova Scotia government put a moratorium on 'small-options housing,' or group housing for people with disabilities, almost 20 years ago.

"Wait lists for housing are now around 1,500 people, and nursing homes are one of the only places where physical disabilities who need round-the-clock care can get it.," she tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Because people with disabilities are taking up nursing home beds, more elderly people are staying in hospitals long-term until a bed opens up.

"Having people in hospital long-term is one of the most expensive ways of housing someone," Cameron says. "By opening up co-housing units and small-options homes, we're actually freeing up spaces in nursing homes for people who actually need it."

She says that people like the No More Warehousing co-founder, Jennifer Powley, are people who need change the most.

Powley suffers from multiple sclerosis and is quadreplegic. Her and others spoke out at a Halifax press conference in early April about their experiences.

"I am not the only person facing this situation," Powley said at the press conference.

Powley says there are over 240 Nova Scotians with severe physical disabilities, ages 18 to 60, who currently reside in nursing homes.

No More Warehousing is campaigning for the government to follow through on a 2013 agreement to find a solution for the growing problem.

"There has been extensive work done to look at how we can tackle the issue," Cameron says. "The problem is that while the government has agreed to implement it, they haven't been taking the steps toward it."

The Choice, Equality and Good Lives in Inclusive Communities began as a five-year-plan, which became a ten-year-plan.

"It's 2019 now, and we've seen very little changes some out from this," Cameron says.

No More Warehousing hopes that all Nova Scotians, with or without a disability, will call their MLA and voice why this issue is important.

"Write to them, tell them your story if it's applicable, or just that you think that this is an injustive of human rights and that people with disabilities should not be institutionalized," Cameron says.

Inspired by the Emerald Hall case in Dartmouth last year, they also are asking any people with personal experiences to file a human rights compalint.




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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