The birds are chirping in the otherwise peaceful and leafy backyard of the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) home that Linda, her two daughters and the two family dogs have happily lived in since mid-2023.
Linda says it has been a long and sometimes difficult journey but this home, in Redlands in Queensland, was worth the wait. She says it has changed the lives of her two daughters – Emma (26) and Sophie (21) – for the better.
The family had lived in community housing in Cairns for a number of years. While grateful for the roof over their heads, the home was not designed to meet the disabilities and support needs of Emma and Sophie.
Linda said her girls took the big step into the NDIS and gained SDA in their plans. But it took several years of searching before they found this home. The main stumbling block was most SDA providers would not allow Linda to live with her daughters. Other homes could not accommodate the family’s dogs.
Home in Place’s SDA team understood and respected the family’s wishes. The team stayed in touch with Linda for more than two and a half years before being able to find the right property with an owner who was happy to accommodate their needs.
“We agreed that, for now, staying together as a family was the best thing for Emma and Sophie,” Linda says.
“The location was important for us. We have always lived close to the water and needed a yard that was suitable for our much-loved dogs.”
“This home is perfect and has such positive energy. I was so excited when Home in Place offered it as an option. It is on a battle-axe block so is set behind another. It is quiet and gives us privacy.”
“It is wonderful to be able to live together but each have our own room and more than one bathroom. We spend a lot of time with each other but it is nice that the girls can also have their own space.”
“Being SDA purpose built it safely and efficiently accommodates the girls’ equipment and supports. It is easy to move around the home.”
“Redlands is such a beautiful place and the community is lovely. We have easy access to transport, shops and services.”
Some of Emma and Sophie’s support providers have made the move down to Redlands. Linda said as well as enabling them to stay together as a family she appreciated the fact that Home in Place and the property owner did not prescribe a particular Supported Living Provider.
“We’ve always had a mixture of agency and independent supports for Emma and Sophie because that works best for them. A key principle of the NDIS is choice and control for participants, so it is appropriate that SDA participants have the freedom to have the right supports for them.”
Moving is always challenging, especially moving such a distance and setting up a new support team.
“Everything happened so fast but the staff at Home in Place have been so responsive and helpful. Whenever there has been an issue, they are straight on to it.”
“We are so grateful to Home in Place and to the property owner for allowing me to live rent free with my daughters. This is a new opportunity for our family and will open new doorways for Emma and Sophie.”
Linda’s advice to other families’ looking to remain together in SDA housing is to persist and seek out providers who recognise family living an option for some NDIS SDA participants.