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February 2004

Moving on ...

By Jenny Sanders,
Service Coordinator,
Northcott Housing Links.

Transitional Accommodation Services offer help to people who want to make a change in their living arrangements from a situation where they have to rely on support from other people to a situation where they can rely more on themselves.

People may want to make a transition from their family home to a home of their own. Some people are leaving rehabilitation centres and other staffed accommodation and need to develop their confidence and skills before they move out to live independently. Transitional Accommodation Services give people time, time to sort themselves out before they make major decisions about where and how they want to live.

Three innovative transitional accommodation services, run by The Northcott Society, are providing opportunities for people with physical disabilities. These services offer a range of support levels to suit particular needs and life experiences. (Please Note: The details in individual stories have been changed to protect privacy.)

Northcott Housing Links

Housing Links provides transitional accommodation in four share houses in the Sydney metropolitan area. Residents must be independent, or have their care needs met by community services such as Home Care.

Purpose built kitchen in Housing Links accomodation.

Ben's story

Ben acquired a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident, and was unable to return to his previous home which was not accessible for his power-drive wheelchair. After leaving the rehabilitation hospital, Ben needed somewhere to live until he could arrange to find permanent housing that was wheelchair accessible and close to his family and friends. During his 14 month stay, Ben received assistance from a Northcott community worker, to negotiate with Department of Housing, and information about community services in his local area. He also sought advice from a Northcott occupational therapist regarding equipment and modifications he would need in his new home. Ben now lives in his own home provided by the Department of Housing.

Merrylands Independent Living

Merrylands Independent Living provides a residential living skills program for people who want to learn to live more independently. Each resident lives in a one bedroom, furnished, purpose built villa and manages their own personal care or utilises community services such as Home Care. Merrylands differs from Housing Links in that residents meet regularly with Living Skills Educators to identify and review their goals. Motivation to set and achieve goals is an essential part of the Merrylands Program.

Entrance to Merrylands Independent Living villas showing level access

Anthony's story

Anthony is a 27 year old man who has muscular dystrophy. He arrived at Merrylands from the family home where his mother did everything for him, from managing his money to cooking all his meals. Anthony was keen to develop living skills such as cooking and budgeting with the view to eventually move into his own Department of Housing unit. Although he was initially anxious about leaving the security of the family home, he appreciated the support offered by the Living Skills Educators at Merrylands and gained confidence as his skills improved.

While at Merrylands, Anthony utilised Home Care for personal care as well as cleaning. He learnt to shop for his own groceries and cook basic meals as well as how to budget and pay bills. Staff assisted Anthony to apply for his own Department of Housing unit, where he now lives. A community worker and occupational therapist from Northcott's Community Living Service Outreach Team supported Anthony to establish himself in his new environment.

Woodbine Transitional Service

The Woodbine Transitional Service provides shared accommodation for up to two years, for people with physical disabilities who wish to gain experience in independent living. While Woodbine and Merrylands both provide living skills training, Woodbine differs from the other services in that personal care staff are employed to support residents in their home.

Woodbine garden and patio

Jane's story

Jane is 28, and has cerebral palsy. Jane had been living with her parents and wanted to move out to live more independently. Jane felt that moving directly into her own unit might be difficult and lonely, and she wanted to gain some experience before she made a decision about living alone.

Jane moved into the four-bedroom share house, and is supported by her Residential Support Staff and the Living Skills Educator, to follow her goals. Since moving to Woodbine, Jane has gained confidence in spending time alone and has made new friends. Jane has indicated that when she leaves Woodbine she would like to share a house with her friend and utilise Home Care for support. Woodbine is providing Jane with the appropriate skills and experience to move onto her next challenge.

Editors note

The three stories above provide examples of the positive ways in which transitional accommodation services can assist people in gaining the skills and confidence to "move on" to living independently.

Northcott has been committed to providing quality services for people with physical disabilities for more than 70 years. Their Transitional Accommodation Services promote independence and opportunities for individuals to acquire the skills and support necessary to navigate important life changes.

Merrylands accommodation showing independent villas.

For more information contact

Northcott Housing Links Service Coordinator
Phone: 02 9890 0100

Merrylands Independent Living Coordinator
Phone: 02 9890 0100

Woodbine Transitional Service Manager
Phone: 02 4625 1061

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