Announcements

NEWS RELEASE

PROGRAM PROMOTING INDEPENDENCE GROWS AGAIN

“Direct Funding has given me access to more choices in my life”

When Meenu Sikand wakes up in the morning, she doesn’t have to think or worry about who will help her get out of bed and get ready for work. A paraplegic since 1986, Ms. Sikand lives in Woodbridge, north of Toronto, with her husband, teenaged son and elderly mother. She relies on attendants to help with activities of daily living, including transferring, showering and dressing.

But, instead of waiting for an agency to send a personal support worker to her – perhaps at a time that is not convenient for her and her work in accessibility planning for the Region of Peel – Ms. Sikand has a handful of attendants whom she recruited, hired, trained and now schedules to suit her needs. These workers are employed and paid by Ms. Sikand, a participant in the Direct Funding program since 1999. She receives monthly funds to employ the attendants of her choice.

The program, which is funded by the province, is being expanded once again to allow more Ontarians with disabilities to live independently in their homes. There are currently about 900 participants on the program. This is the third expansion in as many years for the Direct Funding program; with the latest expansion the program expects to fund approximately 1,000 individuals by 2018 to manage their own care based on their individual needs.

“Direct Funding has given me access to more choices in my life regarding where and when I pursue my employment” said Ms. Sikand. “It has allowed me to meet my obligations as a mother, a wife, a daughter, an employee and an active member of my community.

“I have been nothing but thrilled by the way the Direct Funding program works and how well it’s organized not only to accommodate real-life events but to make it feel like you actually have a real life.”

Program manager Leisa DeBono said the latest funding increase shows that the province sees the value of the self-managed program. She added that the provincial government has shown its confidence in the philosophy of the program – namely, choice, flexibility and control – and the Independent Living movement in general.

“I think the government has seen that our program can reach more people faster and with less red tape than with almost any other program,” said Ms. DeBono. “Putting funds directly into the hands of participants means it goes so much farther than it could through an agency.”

In operation for more than 20 years, Direct Funding has helped more than 1,400 people with disabilities to stay in their homes, live in their communities, work, go to school and raise children. The program is administered by the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto and is available anywhere in the province.

Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TCLHIN), the program also eases pressure on Community Care Access Centres and other community support providers, freeing them up for other individuals.

LEARN MORE

NOTE TO MEDIA: The Direct Funding Program has 900 participants across the province; please ask about local participants in your area who would be willing to be interviewed about the program.



CONTACT:

Toronto
Leanne Larmondin
Provincial Program Co-ordinator
Direct Funding Program
Centre for Independent Living in Toronto
416.599.2458 / 1.800.354.9950 ext. 240
dfsupport@cilt.ca
www.dfontario.ca

or

Contact your local ILRC.

Funding boost allows more Ontarians to self-manage their services

A government-funded program is being expanded to allow more Ontarians with disabilities to live independently in their homes.

For the third time in as many years, the province has increased its funding to the Direct Funding Program, which enables adults living with physical disabilities to manage their personal care based on their individual needs. Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the program also eases pressure on Community Care Access Centres and other community support providers, freeing them up for other individuals.

The expanded program will provide direct funding to approximately 1,000 Ontarians with disabilities to help them self-manage their care. Last year’s funding expansion allowed about 60 new people to participate in the program and enhanced the funding to dozens more.

Administered by the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) through the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TCLHIN), the Direct Funding Program (www.dfontario.ca) provides monthly funding to about 900 people across the province to recruit, hire and manage their own attendants to assist with their activities of daily living; participants determine how and when their services are provided. Attendants assist clients with routine activities of living, including dressing, grooming, toileting and bathing. The program also allows family caregivers respite, reducing the personal and financial burden on relatives.

Derren Whiteman is a quadriplegic and has been a program participant since March 2014; he said his life has been transformed for the better due to the flexibility and control of Direct Funding.

“I have been nothing but thrilled by the way the Direct Funding Program works and how well it's organized not only to accommodate real life events but to make it feel like you actually have a ‘real life’” said Mr. Whiteman, who hires, schedules and manages his own staff with program funds. “I've not had this kind of freedom since before my accident and it's such a welcome experience.”

Leisa DeBono, manager of the Direct Funding Program, noted that in the 20 years since its inception the program has served more than 1,400 people. While the wait for an interview used to be off-putting to some potential applicants, it’s now been shortened, with the possibility of becoming even shorter with the funding increase.

“We’re thrilled the ministry has recognized the incredible value of Direct Funding,” said Ms. DeBono. “This means we’ve earned some recognition that we’re doing something right.”

LEARN MORE

NOTE TO MEDIA: The Direct Funding Program has 900 participants across the province; please ask about local participants in your area who would be willing to be interviewed about the program.



CONTACT:

Toronto
Leanne Larmondin
Provincial Program Co-ordinator
Direct Funding Program
Centre for Independent Living in Toronto
416.599.2458 / 1.800.354.9950 ext. 240
dfsupport@cilt.ca
www.dfontario.ca

or

Contact your local ILRC.
For more information on the Direct Funding program, contact CILT:

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
365 Bloor Street East Suite 902
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3L4

Tel: (416) 599-2458
Fax: (416) 599-3555
TTY: (416) 599-5077
Toll Free:1-800-354-9950


"I used to view my disability as being in bed chained down at my shoulders and my hips, waiting for someone to free me. Well, I can honestly say that Direct Funding has come along and done that!"
- 25-year-old man living with parents

Program puts more people with disabilities in control

The Direct Funding Program is being expanded to allow more Ontarians with disabilities to live independently in their homes.

You can read more about this in our News Release.

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