The program has started in Cape Breton and will expand throughout the province over the next year. The Independent Living Support Program expansion and other new services for people with disabilities were announced in December 2004, following extensive community consultation. The services include, Direct Family Support, implemented in 2005, that provides financial assistance to people who care for a family member with a disability at home and the Alternative Family Support Program, which will be implemented this spring and will offer a family-like setting in the community. These new programs complement existing supports and services already in place. Residents of Cape Breton with intellectual and physical disabilities or long-term mental illness will be living more independently with the help of a new provincial program and service providers. Three Cape Breton service providers have been approved to assist individuals requiring up to 21 hours of support per week under the Department of Community Services Independent Living Support Program. “This program will help Nova Scotians with disabilities who need a minimum level of assistance learn daily life skills,” said Community Services Minister David Morse. “We are offering a level of support that will allow people to live with greater independence, in their own homes, and improve their quality of life.” The program will offer support to about 25 eligible Service for Persons with Disabilities clients and help them develop skills in everyday activities such as maintaining a household, laundry, shopping, banking, preparing meals and community access. The successful service providers are: Cape Breton Community Housing Association serving Sydney and area; Supportive Living Society serving Sydney and area; Regional Occupational Centre Society Association serving Inverness and Richmond counties.