People with disabilities are more likely to live on lower incomes and have limited housing options that may reduce their quality of life.
In response to growing need for low income and disability-suitable housing, the ACT Government has been building and renewing the stock of affordable and accessible housing to align tenant requirements with public housing.
The latest addition is Hartley Lifecare’s supported accommodation for people with physical and complex disabilities on Darwinia Terrace in Chapman, scheduled for completion by mid-to-late 2020.
Darwinia Terrace has been funded by many generous Canberra individuals and businesses, with project management by Renaissance Homes. The land was granted to Hartley Lifecare by the ACT Government.
Quality, accessible public housing is important for people with disabilities but there is a massive shortage across Australia, not just in the ACT. In March 2019, Anglicare’s Rental Affordability National Report 2019 identified only 317 out of almost 70,000 advertised homes as affordable and suitable for people on a Disability Support Pension.
“Finding an affordable home in the private rental market is a complete fiction for people on low incomes,” according to Anglicare. “Resourcefulness and sacrifice is the only thing keeping a roof over the heads of many Australians.”
That makes Darwinia Terrace a welcome respite option for people with disabilities in the ACT.
The floor plan for the new respite facility presents a four-bedroom house to accommodate short-term respite clients. A contemporary design, open planning, ease of access and assistive technology will be key features of this house.
Hartley’s Chapman respite facility will provide four beds, 365 days of the year, staffed 24/7 by support workers. Maintenance of the house and garden will be undertaken by staff and volunteers. Funding for people receiving respite care will be provided by the NDIS.
People in Hartley house who require wheelchair access or use assistive devices such as walking frames will have access to modified vehicles and vans for transport.
“Hartley is very excited to embark on this new project and provide people with disability the opportunities to live their best lives,” said Kellie Edwards, senior manager, Fundraising, Marketing and Stakeholder Engagement at Hartley Lifecare.
Hartley’s respite house will provide for people with high and complex disabilities like Kylie, who’s been with Hartley Lifecare for longer than she can remember.
Kylie is also the number one supporter of the Roosters Rugby League team.
“I haven’t had a holiday for a while, but I would like to go meet the Roosters soon,” Kylie says.