One small step for people with disability, one giant leap for accessible housing in NSW

AS the demand for public housing continues to grow, and the shortfall of affordable housing worsens, Achieve Australia, a leading not for profit disability services provider is showing the way for a new model set to change the face of accommodation services for people with disability in New South Wales.

Yesterday, December 4, Minister for Disability Services and Ageing, The Hon. John Ajaka, MLC, officially opened two homes in Eastwood and five people with disability celebrated their new found independence and social inclusion. Not only were the new homes built and owned by Achieve Australia, they officially received their platinum-certification from Livable Housing Australia.

At the opening, Mr Ajaka congratulated Achieve Australia for not only opening two brand new homes, but also for becoming the first organisation in NSW to receive platinum-certification for apartments in a medium density development in Ryde. Construction has commenced and Achieve Australia is set to take ownership of 5% of the over 400 apartment development.

Achieve Australia have been leading the closure of congregated and segregated care facilities for nearly 30 years in NSW, and once again are paving the way in the disability sector, finding innovative solutions to the growing needs and now applying this to medium density living.

Through such a commitment, residents who for the better part of their entire life had lived in institutions now live in community homes, purpose built and designed for maximum engagement and livability.

Mr Ajaka and Anne Bryce, CEO at Achieve Australia, and the five people who live in the new homes cut the ribbon to the new homes together, recognising the significant journey both the residents, and Achieve Australia, have been on for the past five years.

Through the commitment to close the former Crowle Home in Ryde, a large residential centre no longer fit for purpose, Achieve Australia forged their way through a long and challenging process, side by side nearly 50 people, and their families, who up until recently had lived at Crowle Home for the majority of their lives.

As the homes were opened today, Achieve Australia CEO Anne Bryce reminded everyone that much more work still needs to be done in NSW.

“As we celebrate accessible housing for people with disability both here in Eastwood and the future Crowle Estate, we must remember that whilst NSW has the largest social housing portfolio in Australia, it is estimated it only services 44% of need in NSW. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has estimated a further shortfall of 122,000 suitable dwellings across the country with an estimated 55,000 additional properties required in NSW,” Ms Bryce said.

“We stand here today proud on two outcomes. Firstly, proud that the people who live here now live in the community, in homes that are built and owned by Achieve Australia, and accessible now and into the future.

“Secondly, through the commitment to close the former Crowle Home, and after the long and enduring process of leading the development and sale of the land, we have retained platinum-certified accommodation for people with disability blended throughout a medium density development on the future site. This is a first in NSW and we want to continue to look at opportunities to leverage our experience and develop more accessible homes for people with disability.”

The impact of people moving out of large residential centres and into community homes is broad, deep and lifelong.

For one resident Patrick Gaffney, who had spent the majority of his life living at Crowle Home, the change has been immediate as he embraces his new community. When asked what he likes most about his new home Patrick replied “I like learning to cook for myself and making my own cup of coffee.”

Patrick’s family, his manager at work, and his support staff have all seen a really big change in Patrick. “He is more outgoing, and more relaxed, he is happier,” Mary Roberts, Patrick’s sister, said.

As the residents continue to embrace their new community homes, Achieve Australia’s focus remains “to ensure all Australian’s with disability achieve social inclusion in all aspects of life,” Ms Bryce concluded.

Source: Achieve Australia

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.

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