Southwest Homes opens ninth group home in Swift Current
A housewarming party was hosted on May 12 to officially open the ninth location operated by Southwest Homes.
Milburn House was officially opened this past Friday as a new residential location for a trio of former residents of Moose Jaw’s Valley View Centre. The new home also boasts Swift Current’s first semiindependent apartment as a new offering from Southwest Homes.
Southwest Homes Executive Director Susie Eidem reflected on the growth of their services for individuals with intellectual disabilities over the past number of years. Back in 2007 they operated with just two group homes, serving nine residents and running a small independent living program. Today, they operate a network of nine group homes which support 33 people as well as providing respite support. There are also 24 people in a community-based day program which did not exist a decade ago.
“We have grown a lot over the last few years. And there was a real need for that. People with disabilities are much better off than they were 10 years ago,” Eidem said.
Milburn House offers a home environment for Edward, Clinton and Daryl, three individuals who had been long term residents of Valley View Centre. To date, a total of 50 residents have transitioned out of the institutional setting of Valley View and into a home-like environments primarily across Saskatchewan.
“They are just loving living in their own space,” Eidem admitted.
Premier Brad Wall, who was on hand for the official opening, said the move away from institutional care has been an important process in improving the quality of life for those with disabilities.
“Over the last number of years its become apparent that while the care there (Valley View Centre) is really good, that maybe a more home-like environment is desired. That was a big facility with a lot of residents. And so its taken some time to transition away to more of a home-setting,” Wall said.
Wall noted that support for Southwest Homes in Swift Current has grown from a $900,000 annual budget in 2007 to $4 million this year to support individuals with disabilities.
“This budget was obviously a very difficult budget for the province. And there were some tough decisions we made. But I would note that actually in that tough budget context, this is the largest Social Services budget in the history of Saskatchewan. Where other Ministries were dealing with zeros, and sometimes minus ones or just plus ones, they got a nine per cent increase.”
Thanks to the more than $456,000 in annual funding for Milburn House, Southwest Homes has also been able to offer their first ever semi-independent apartment.
Southwest Homes primarily offers care in group home settings with 24-hour staff supports, while others live independently except for periodic support.
“What we were looking for was kind of a middle road for that. So we have created a semi-independent apartment,” Eidem said.
Kory is the first participant in this new offering, and he has his own sitting room, bedroom and bathroom located in the basement of Milburn House. He has his own door and can come and go from his apartment, he can eat meals with the other residents, he has social contact, plus he can access assistance with medication if needed.
It is part of Milburn House “but feels very much like he’s in his own apartment, which was always one of his dreams. So we were really happy that we could help him with that,” Eidem said.