Overcoming the challenges of finding Supported Disability Accommodation

18 March 2021
For generations, individuals with a disability and their families have found it difficult to find housing when their loved ones become adults. CPSN members, John and Kay are no strangers to this dilemma.

Although John and Kaye have always been deeply involved in Tim's overall wellbeing, they realised that caring for him in their home was not sustainable as they aged. 

They wanted a good sense of security and to know that their son would be well looked after under any circumstance. Insecure housing is a topic that creates a lot of anxiety for families and, until recently, did not always provide any tangible solutions.  

After developing Tim's first NDIS plan two years ago, their biggest goal was to ensure that they could get their son Tim into secure housing. 

"It is also important that it is "we" that decide what we would like our children to be left with when we pass. and not an unknown organisation," says John.  

John and Kaye were looking down a barrel of uncertainty, and they knew they had to consider all the things Tim would need in the future, including all financial and medical requirements. 

When John and Kaye began their journey to find Tim a suitable and permanent home, they didn't anticipate the challenges it would create. Finding Supported Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a lengthy process, and it involves negotiating with external government organisations and complex, lengthy documentation.  

"Parents should not shoulder the burden of accommodation transition, thinking that it is easy. The paperwork, negotiations and arrangements can be confounding," says John.  

Lucky for the Wnek family, they had CPSN support coordinator Brian in their corner. Brian worked diligently for two years, and despite roadblocks along the way, he was able to assist them in achieving their ultimate goal. 

"There is no doubt that Brian played a pivotal role in getting Tim not only into the house but also arranged the DHHS and Scope financial requirements needed," says Kaye. 

Creating space for their support coordinator to deal with the small print allowed John and Kaye the time and privacy to get comfortable with a new chapter of their life. They understood that allowing their son to live independently would be a big step. 

"The biggest challenge was ensuring that everything is in place for Tim. It has taken 32 years to know Tim's quirks, habits, needs, reactions, wants, etc. All those things need to be learned by the house carers," says John. 

John and Kaye's success lies in their ability to have a crystal-clear understanding of what they envisioned for their son's life. They knew they wanted him to have a secure home with knowledgeable staff, that he would live close to them and that they could bring Tim home on weekends. 

“We have done all that we can do to date. This move has been a major move from our normal family life. Initially, Tim felt misplaced - but because we have exposed him to respite, overnight stays and holidays without us, he has become adjusted to spending time away from home without grief. We are still neutralising his transition into his accommodation by having him at home on the weekends,” they said.  

John and Kaye say that the transition is probably harder for them than it is for Tim, but they now have a peace of mind that they couldn’t have imagined before the NDIS. 

If you would like more information on Supported Disability Accommodation or Support Coordination, call CPSN on 03 9478 1001 or visit www.cpsn.org.au 

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