P.E.I. commits $2.3M to residential beds for Islanders with intellectual disabilities

The money will be spent on adding 36 new residential beds at community organizations across the Island that support Islanders with intellectual disabilities.

Demand growing as caregivers get older

Queens County Residential Services says 40 people are on a waiting list for residential beds in Queens County. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The P.E.I. government is spending $2.3 million to support Islanders with intellectual disabilities and their families.

The money — for 36 new residential beds across the Island — is needed more than ever, as caregivers get older, according to advocates.

"There's quite a few parents, over 55 years of age, they still have their son or daughter living with them and as they get older they have their own health issues," said Bill Lawlor, executive director, Queen County Residential Services.

"It's hitting at both ends of the spectrum."

The non-profit community groups to receive funding are Community Connections Inc., Queens County Residential Services and Inclusions East, a news release from the province said.

Bill Lawlor, executive director of Queens County Residential Services, left, stands with Minister of Social Development and Housing Ernie Hudson. (Government of Prince Edward Island)

"We've really expanded quite a bit over the last several years, adding more facilities, more homes. We certainly are making a dent but it's an ongoing demand for services," Lawlor said.

There are 40 people on a waiting list for residential beds in Queens County, according to Lawlor.

Construction of a new 10-bed facility was recently completed in the Summerside area. A new 11-bed-facility in Kings County is now under development and work is slated to begin next month on a new group home in Charlottetown. 

Residential housing and programs help people with intellectual disabilities live as independently as possible.

"We have to work together as community and neighbours to support the many diverse housing needs of Islanders," said Ernie Hudson, minister of social development and housing, in the release.

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