Inner West Independent

Affordable housing a reality for people with disabilities

UnitingCare Ageing has entered into a partnership with Leichhardt Council to deliver affordable housing for inner west locals living with a disability, by redeveloping Annesley House and Harold Hawkins Court.

Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne welcomed the move aimed at the inner west elderly.

“It’s really exciting that UnitingCare made this approach and are serious about investing millions of dollars in delivering more affordable housing for older people in Leichhardt,” he said.

“We’ve now agreed to enter into a partnership with them to expand that to include younger people, key workers and people with disabilities.”

Charity organisation Home Community is working alongside UnitingCare in establishing supportive housing for people with special needs.

“The Home Group has been working with UnitingCare for some years to develop a new model for people with a disability so that they can live in a sustainable way in their community,” said Home Group Chair Richard Betts.

“The properties that are currently under review in Leichhardt will provide a perfect opportunity to create such a community. We hope that this development will enable all sections of the community to live in an affordable and sustainable way.”

Local resident Jenny Rix said there is an urgent need to find suitable accommodation. Ms Rix has a 35-year-old daughter with an intellectual disability and is part of a group of 10 families who lobbied Council to locate sites for affordable accommodation.

“About 35 years ago the government closed off the big institutions where people with intellectual disabilities used to go, so that people like my daughter have spent their entire lives being cared for by their parents,” she said.

“That’s fine but we will probably die in the next 20 years or so, leaving our daughter behind. What we are doing is saying ‘well let’s get something organised while we can, and while we are still able to help and ease that transition into an independent lifestyle for our children’.”

Ms Rix said it is important for people like her daughter to remain in the inner west despite the high cost of housing.

“Our children have grown up in this area. They know the bus routes, they know the shop keepers, they know their local doctors, their brothers and sisters live here, they know each other, they have their friends and their recreational groups are all within this area,” she said.

“All this network of support in the community is already there, so we don’t want to take that away and have to re-establish them somewhere else.”