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Non-profit concerned about Michener transition

Three former Michener Centre residents moving to St. Albert

By: Amy Crofts

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 06:00 am

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There are big gaps in the transition plans for former Michener Centre residents, says a local non-profit.

Marie Renaud, executive director of the LoSeCa Foundation, is concerned with how the provincial government is finding new homes for people with developmental and physical disabilities.

The province announced in March last year that the Michener Centre in Red Deer – an institution for disabled adults – would be shut down. The 125 residents would be moved to long-term care and supportive living facilities.

LoSeCa is looking to move three men, former residents of Michener, to St. Albert so they can be closer to their families.

Renaud said the province’s transition plan is a failure.

“There is no transition plan,” she said, noting the foundation has been working to secure different provincial grants to cover the cost of moving and securing an accessible place to live.

Former Michener residents are eligible for $1,000 transition grants.

“Sure they're coming with their own bedroom furniture, but there's more to life than that. One thousand dollars is not going to cut it,” said Renaud.

LoSeCa plans to move all three men into one home that is wheelchair accessible. Renaud said the men’s families want to keep them together as roommates.

“These guys have lived there their whole lives. This is going to be a massive change for them and quite stressful, so I think that if they can stay with people they're familiar with, that might help,” she said.

Michener was slated to be shut down this month. $10 million was allotted in last year’s provincial budget for its closure of Michener.

The province has since extended the time period to transition residents.

“We have people that moved out from Michener 15 years ago and they have terrific lives now, so we know that this can be good for them,” added Renaud. “But it's another example of setting these great policies … and the rubber just doesn't hit the road.”

“PDD, if you're going to do a transition, this is not how you do it.”

Comment from the ministry of Human Services was not available by press time.


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