Written by: Belinda Aitkens, Summer Foundation Lived Experience Facilitator
Over the past six weeks, the Summer Foundation has been presenting online Housing Options workshops for people with a disability in Tasmania and their families. I was pleased to be a facilitator at these workshops. Up until now, people with a disability in Tasmania have mainly had the traditional options for housing, such as group homes or having to live with family; but not anymore.
In the workshops, we presented information on the more mainstream housing options that are available such as the rental market and home ownership. This included covering the Tasmanian Government initiatives “Better Housing Futures” and “Streets Ahead”. After that, we explored the very exciting Specialist Disability Accommodation market and the important aspect of separation of housing and supports. Throughout the workshop were activities that helped participants think about what they want in a home and led to them writing up their housing plan for the NDIS.
I was one of 5 facilitators with lived experience of negotiating our housing journeys. We were able to share our experiences with all the participants, which prompted great discussions. I think hearing our experiences helped the participants to know that their housing dreams are possible and that they can work towards achieving them.
One of our participants stated about the workshops:
“Excellent information about all the housing options available in the state; such a variety of options which I was unaware of. I particularly loved hearing from peers living with disability and their experiences. It was invaluable.”
The workshops were focused on people with a disability and their families and they made up most of our participants. We also held a special workshop, covering the same information, for service providers, disability advocates, support coordinators and allied health professionals. It is vital they are abreast of all the housing options available and through the workshop we were able to present them with information that they could then take back to their clients.
I am proud that I was a part of this workshop. We presented information in an easy to understand format and I believe the participants truly received a wealth of knowledge which empowers them to negotiate a suitable housing future for themselves.
The Tasmanian Housing Options Workshops were made possible by the ANZ Community Foundation through a grant.
Our team is running another series of Housing Options workshops for people in the Sydney area in September.
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