When Va was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April 2020 she was living in her own home with her teenage son. As her condition progressed, her home was no longer suitable or safe. Va says: “It was really difficult for me, because I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly your whole life has changed.”
With the help of Lauren Lovegrove, support coordinator from MNDNSW, Va found a new suitable home. Lauren took a person-centred approach with an emphasis on finding housing and support that met both Va’s needs and preferences. Va needed a home she could share with her son. The location was also very important. Va wanted to be near family, church, a park, cafes and a convenience store. “All these things are very important to me because I can’t drive. So they should be accessible to me, as a new wheelchair user,” says Va.
People with disability have the right to live independently and to enjoy full inclusion and participation in the community. This often requires a person-centred approach to designing supports and finding housing.
A person-centred approach is not just looking for a group home vacancy and slotting a person in. Instead a person-centred approach looks at how a person wants to live their life and how they can be supported to do so.
Lauren says the Summer Foundation’s My Housing Preferences tool has been really useful to guide discussions and gather information.
It is important that support coordinators understand what the NDIS can provide, as well as know how and where to engage mainstream and community services. This can include connecting with real estate agents, social housing providers, share house platforms and the Housing Hub as well as investigating SDA or other disability specific housing.
We know supporting a person to live an ordinary life is not without challenges. Lauren advises support coordinators to be persistent. “Just keep going, it can happen and there can be really great outcomes for participants, it’s just a matter of trying again and again until you find the right way to do it.”
And for Va? Since moving to her accessible new home she says: “I’m enjoying every minute of it. It’s made a lot of difference, absolutely… It is a real game changer.”
Both Va and Lauren feature in episode 1 of the UpSkill Best Practice podcast series about supporting a person whose housing isn’t working for them. List
If you are a support coordinator or NDIS allied health professional wanting to find out more about the NDIS and housing, come to our UpSkill workshops: