“Group homes are great for parents but they don’t have to live in one" – one of the insights shared by Dr George Taleporus (YDAS) at the Summer Foundation forum moderated by Stella Young. Other panel members included Glenn Keys (NDIA Board), Astrid Reynolds (Summer Foundation), Grayden Moore (Summer Foundation Ambassador) and John McInerney. This expert panel paints a picture of where they would like to see housing for people with disability in 10 years time and provides some practical suggestions of how we get there.
A consistent theme shared by the expert panel was that when it comes to housing, people with disability want the same as most people. They want the be afforded the same everyday choices that most of us take for granted like choosing where to live and who to live with – with friends, partners or alone, not just with other people with a disability. People with disability want freedom to move home as they grow and age, and the freedom to try different housing options along the way.
Two issues raised in the Q&A session that got a lot of support were: people with a disability deserve the chance to experiment, and there is dignity and respect in offering the chance to choose and risk failure. Secondly, that it is essential to ensure people are safe, but the focus has been far too much on ‘protecting’ instead of offering a learning environment, and that needs to be re-balanced.
Summer Foundation Ambassador Grayden Moore susained a severe brain injuty and became a resident in a nursing home at the age of 23 because there were no other housing and support options. Grayden offered a final comment to sum up: good housing and support is ‘a freedom people deserve’.