Windsor

'Our people matter': advocates demand services for adults with developmental disabilities

Protesters gathered outside of the Ministry of Community and Social Services office Friday, to demonstrate against the lack of services and support for adults with developmental disabilities.

Protesters call for more affordable housing for adults with developmental disabilities

Parents of Adult Children with Disabilities Windsor/Essex Group hosted a rally in Windsor Friday to shed light on the lack of government support for adults with developmental disabilities. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Protesters gathered outside the Ministry of Community and Social Services office in Windsor Friday, to demonstrate against the lack of services and support for adults with developmental disabilities.

The Nowhere to Turn rally was held by the Parents of Adult Children with Disabilities Windsor/Essex Group and the Ontario Federation of Adults with Developmental Disabilities.

Rally organizer Mary Beth Rocheleau sent a simple message to Premier Wynne in her opening remarks, "our people matter."

"People with developmental disabilities matter, they're not disposable as your government has been treating them," she added. "They deserve a quality of life like everybody else."

Protesters want more affordable housing and more support services for adults with developmental disabilities. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The group wants to see affordable housing for adults with disabilities, as Ontario has the longest wait list for anywhere in Canada, said Rocheleau. They're also advocating for better employment options, and more funding for programs and services.

"Far too many adults with developmental disabilities are ending up in long-term care homes or they're ending up in nursing homes or they're ending up on the streets," Windsor West NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky said during the rally.

Gretzky said every day she hears from parents afraid of what will happen to their children with developmental disabilities after they pass on or can no longer care for them.

Friday's rally was the second the group has put on in recent months, the first was at Queen's Park in June.

But Rocheleau has been advocating for children and adults with developmental disabilities for over a decade and said in recent years the stakes have become even higher.

"It's scarier now," she said "Nothing has changed for adults and it's getting worse."

Mary Jo Kay attended the rally with her cousin Greg Dufour. She said her cousin, who has a developmental disability, is lucky to have a job and a place to live, but she worries about what his future could be like without government support.

"He just wants some help," said Kay.

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