Yesterday I wrote about Ms. Sinenomine who has questioned why in the 21st century developments still contain “group homes” to house disabled people, instead of working towards a model that provides more independence for the individual. Ms Sinenomine noted that the group home model so popular in the mid 20th century was designed to convenience staff servicing disabled people, and really that model should be the other way around. If you have been in George Pearson Centre as it exists, it is shocking. About 230 quadriplegics and others were housed in this former tuberculosis hospital in 2013.
Paul Caune, the executive director of Civil Rights Now is even more blunt in his dismissal of the group home model and its disappointing inclusion in the George Pearson Redevelopment of the 500-600 block of West 57th Avenue. Paul notes that in the Pearson Dogwood Policy Statement that Vancouver Coastal Health is to provide “a plan for all housing and supports to replace the [George Pearson Centre] facilities which demonstrates best practices.” Under the friendly terminology of “greenhouses” these group homes in Phase 1 of the development include four 6-bedroom apartments and four 4-bedroom apartments. That’s 40 people who will be housed in a group “green” home situation.
George Pearson Centre as is
“The burden of proof is on Vancouver Coastal Health (the partner in the development) to demonstrate that apartments with four or six bedrooms is best practices for housing that promotes independence for people with disabilities in BC and/or jurisdictions comparable to BC.”
“…As disability services expert Michael Kendrick stated …”Group homes have had their day and are now at least a generation out of date and that fact will simply deepen in significance and consequence as the field progresses forward. There is absolutely no evidence that the future leading edge of best practice shows any support for group homes in comparison to person centred options.”
The difference according to Paul Caune is that “Group homes can only give disabled people a room of their own, instead of what they need to live with freedom and dignity, which is a home of their own.” Since Vancouver Coastal Health, which will be running the “group homes” told the City of Vancouver that the “project provides capital and housing that will allow us to use our operating dollars to continue to create models of care and housing to promote independence for people with disabilities, ” you’d think that the disabled folks that would be housed in these group homes would be consulted.
Paul Caune concldes: “BC voters with disabilities are in desperate need of housing that will enable their independence. The Pearson Dogwood Redevelopment is a great opportunity to meet a little of that need. The voters of the City of Vancouver mustn’t allow Vancouver Coastal Health to waste this opportunity.”
And as Price Tags Editors note, it is the 21st Century. You can read Paul Caune’s full statement here.
You can also check out Ms Sinenomine’s latest blog entry which includes from the United Nations Social Policy/Development Disability Article 19 which is the right to live independently and within a community. As Ms Sinenomine states:“There is no other group of adult citizens in this country, not convicted of violating criminal laws, who are forced to fight for their right to live in the community, except disabled people.”
Source: George Pearson Residents