"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned" - Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou spoke a universal truth when she uttered these words. Think about it, you know the feeling. You put the key in the front door, take a deep breath, and relax. You can leave the world outside because you’re home. This is where everything is just how you like it, where you’re most comfortable, and where you feel safe.
An example of how being without this can impact a person's quality of life is our friend Eddie, who has cerebral palsy and he’s unable to speak, so he communicates in his own way—mainly by writing on his iPad. Furthermore, he also has an intellectual disability, which means that he needs extra support with everyday things, like cooking and paying the bills.
Until recently, 61-year-old Eddie dreaded coming home at the end of each day, something which only exacerbated a growing need for greater support and connection.
“I was deeply concerned about what Eddie had gone through,” Rowena, his Support Manager, said, “so I made inquiries. It turned out he had been living in unsuitable accommodation. His housemate was highly volatile. Eddie had been suffering from bullying in his own home.”
As Rowena would attest, many people with disability find themselves in the same predicament. They are living in accommodation where they don’t even feel safe, never mind comfortable—and they can’t escape. When people like Eddie can’t find the right home, they can quickly become isolated. Their health and wellbeing can deteriorate quickly. But there is hope.
It wasn’t easy for us to find Eddie a place to call his own. And it certainly wasn’t easy explaining to him that there weren’t enough homes for people like him. It's through the help of the wider community, in the form of donations and advocacy, that this work can be done, now and in the future.
Eddie is now living happily in supported independent living with good friends and constant support. This has brought out Eddie's full personality and true energy, as seen in his recent participation in the Battle of the Bands. In other words, he is proof of what can happen when we actively address the severe shortage of suitable housing for people with disability.
Eddie is eager to see others like him as safe and happy as he is now, which is why he chooses to share his story when and where he can.
We’re determined to ease the ache for a safe place to call home, which is why tackling the housing shortage has long been one of our biggest focuses.