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MDC alternatives exist here

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A building on the grounds of the Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

A building on the grounds of the Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie. Photo Store

I applaud Will Braun for his well-researched and poignant article Development centre's time is past (Oct. 1). While I have tremendous respect for the dedicated men and women who tirelessly work at MDC and St. Amant, I find it both unfortunate and unnecessary that the aptly named warehouses like these still operate today.

To any who would question closure of Manitoba Developmental Centre and integration of its clients into the community, I suggest you need not scour the country looking for successful examples of alternatives. Winnipeg-based Direct Action in Support of Community Homes (DASCH Inc.) is recognized nationally as one of the most innovative, progressive organizations in this space.

With more than 50 homes, DASCH provides a safe, dignified and extremely cost-effective alternative to the expensive, outdated and, to be blunt, unfortunate reality that is the MDC-style warehouse.

I have a sibling who has lived in a DASCH home for more than 20 years, and like countless others with similar disabilities, she has prospered and lived an extremely happy and fulfilling life.

In short, the community-living model works, and this is why the process of de-institutionalization is well underway not just in Canada, but in almost every developed country in the world.

PETER JESSIMAN

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 3, 2013 A14

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