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ACO cuts counselling service

Focus on other support services

The AIDS Committee Of Ottawa (ACO) will be closing its therapeutic counselling program at the end of March.

According to Kathleen Cummings, ACO’s executive director, the decision to close the program was made in response to funding shortfalls at the organization.

“We know we are going to be experiencing some cuts next year and ACO had to make the difficult decision regarding what services we would fight to maintain,” says Cummings.

She adds that if ACO had not taken quick action to close the program the agency’s entire slate of support services – including the Living Room – would have been threatened.

“[The Living Room] has been repeatedly identified as a priority by our clients, which is one of the main reasons it was decided to focus our attention and resources on ensuring that it continues at the expense of continuing the counselling services,” says Cummings. “Another reason for choosing to close the counselling program is that ACO has not done a great job of supporting this program.”

At the end of November, in anticipation of the therapeutic counselling program’s closure, ACO trimmed back the availability of its counsellor from 35 to 20 hours per week.