29 April 2024

Living the dream of independence, one home at a time

| Jacqueline Lyons
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Project Independence housing in Latham.

Intellectually disabled Canberrans are being given the opportunity to live independently thanks to Project Independence. Photo: Project Independence.

Independence – it’s something all young people crave, but some find it hard to achieve.

That was the case for Luke Power until seven years ago when he became one of the first residents of the Project Independence home in Latham.

Project Independence homes are designed for people with intellectual disability, giving them the opportunity to acquire equity in a property and live as independently as possible.

Luke’s mother, Lianne Walsh, says Luke’s move to the Latham home was one of the best things to happen to their family.

“When he first told us he wanted to move out, we found him accommodation with a couple of other young men who were all learning about living out of home together. It sounded great at the time, but it didn’t work out,” Lianne says.

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Lianne says another big problem was the government rental’s lack of long-term security.

“With social housing rental accommodation, there’s no security. The government can ask for it back at any time, so you never know if it’s going to be short-term or long-term accommodation,” Lianne says.

“Plus, if one of the renters moves out, the government has the power to kick out the remaining tenant with little to no notice.”

Looking for another place for Luke to live safely and comfortably, Lianne says the family of three were getting frustrated trying to find a suitable place.

“He had had two sharehouse situations that none of us were happy with,” Lianne says.

The family eventually discovered Project Independence and made an application.

Kitchen in a Project Independence house.

The housing available offers affordable, spacious homes for residents. Photo: Project Independence.

“When the opportunity for Luke to be a shareholder in his own apartment came up, we were thrilled to know he had the opportunity to have a bit of stability while being independent.”

Luke was one of the very first tenants to move into the Latham complex in 2017, and Lianne says that the set-up of the complex is nothing short of life-changing.

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“It’s so great to see him living in his own place. There are plenty of opportunities for him to be social with the other people living in the complex. Most of them get together pretty much every night and have dinner together,” Lianne says.

“Another great thing about it is that there is a support coordinator that lives in the complex that makes sure everyone gets at least one decent meal a day.

“The coordinator lives there with her kids, so it allows the other residents to interact and have a bit of family time.”

Lianne says that the best thing about Luke finding his new home is the sense of relief she and her husband have felt knowing their child is living in a safe environment.

“It’s just fantastic knowing he’s living in a secure living environment,” Lianne says.

For more information or to make a donation to help build more homes, visit Project Independence.


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