Cape Bretoners living with intellectual and physical disabilities or long-term mental illness will soon benefit from more government services and support. The Department of Community Services announced today, Jan. 16, that the Independent Living Support Program will begin accepting referrals from the service for persons with disabilities division at the end of January 2006. “One of our main goals in developing our programs is meeting the person’s needs with the least intrusive service,” said David Morse, Minister of Community Services. “This program will help people maintain their independence, while ensuring they have enough support to meet their daily needs.” The Independent Living Support Program serves people who are semi-independent and need a minimum level of assistance to live on their own in the community. It provides up to 21 hours of weekly support, including help maintaining health and wellness, household chores, and accessing services in the community. The expansion of services will begin in Cape Breton with the expectation of serving up to 25 participants. Over the next year the program will continue to expand throughout the province. The Independent Living Support Program expansion and other new services were announced in December 2004, following extensive community consultation. The services include: the Direct Family Support Program, implemented in 2005, that provides financial assistance to people who care for a family member with a disability at home; the Alternative Family Support Program, which will be implemented in spring 2006 and will offer a family-like setting in the community. These new programs complement existing supports and services already in place.