When a house becomes a home

22 Feb 2021

There’s a big difference between a house and a home, with accessibility being key to it a significant portion of the population.

The catch is that, like so many other things that make a house a home, accessibility needs will often differ from person to person. Many people with disability have experience being in spaces that don’t work for them. A home should never be that kind of place. Once a barrier has been identified, it’s a case of working out a solution that works for the person who will call the space home.

For people with disability, sometimes it’s a lack of accessibility that can get in the way of making one or all of those things possible. Simply put, accessible housing helps people become independent. Moving out of home can be a big step, but also a rewarding one.

Russell is one of our customers who moved into one of our brand new homes. He says it’s one of the best things he’s done.

‘It was a good decision to leave home. I am happy. I have a big, big room in a big, big home,’ he said.

Since the big move, Russell has embraced his independence and taken on an important role in the house. And the happiness exuded by Russell now that's in his new home is truly infectious. 

"My house makes me happy. Cooking makes me happy. Gardening makes me happy. The blue buses makes me happy. My worker Ruth makes me happy. Drinking beautiful coffee makes me happy." he said.

What you may not realise is that for people with intellectual disability like Russell often it’s the face-to-face supports that makes a house accessible. Many people with intellectual disability need a little support to do things around the home, whether that be help getting ready, using appliances, keeping a routine, or just following their passions. Without support staff, this might be a very difficult thing, so in many instances, it’s actually the staff that provides that level of security and support that makes living out of home possible.

Russell and disability support worker Ruth have developed a close bond in the years they’ve been working together

Ruth is Russell’s worker and the two of them get along like a house on fire.

‘He’s incredible - he’s an amazing human being and we are lucky to have him,’ says Ruth.

Ruth is very passionate about people with intellectual disability gaining independence out of the family home.

‘Disability or not, being able to live independently is an important choice, and one that everyone deserves to have’ she said.

‘Living independently gives that responsibility and freedom to be who you want to be – to live life your way.‘

‘For me, the best think is seeing that feeling of pride when they walk in to the house,’ she says.

With the help of the community, this happiness can be the norm for more people with disability. After all, it's your generosity that ensures that we can continue to turn more houses into homes for people like Rusell, now and in the future. 

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