Group home design has a very positive impact on peoples' lives

The NSW Minister for Disability, the Hon. John Ajaka, praises the importance of new group homes in a speech to NSW Parliament.

Extract from Hansard NSW Parliament 18 November 2014

These homes are purpose-built, providing residents with improved comfort, privacy, personal space and significantly greater capacity to be involved in the community.

The redevelopment of the Government’s large residential centres and the positive impact this has on people’s lives makes me immensely proud to be part of a government that is delivering outcomes for people with disability.

The new group homes are wonderful buildings.

Everyone has their own bedroom and each house has two accessible bathrooms, two spacious living areas, accessible kitchens and well-landscaped grounds.

More important than the beautiful homes are the changes the new living arrangements are making to the residents’ lives. The stories I am hearing are overwhelming.

Recently I received an email from a family member, the night after a client had moved into a new group home….

The big move has finally happened. I am so thankful that my daughter has been given this opportunity. We all love it. The house is lovely and bright. I love the high ceilings and all the paintings. Everything is just fabulous.

It is hard not to be moved by the story of another deaf-blind resident who kept going back into her bedroom to check that her belongings were as she had left them. She had not previously been able to leave possessions in her room unattended when she lived in a larger unit with almost 20 other people. The feeling of security and safety will sink in and the comfort that will bring to this client will be immense.

Some families and carers were concerned about the manner in which their loved ones would be treated by neighbours when they moved into regular neighbourhoods and communities.

The families of a group of five people who moved into a new group home built in the suburb of Westmead know they have nothing to worry about. As the residents moved in, they and their family members were greeted by neighbours who gave them housewarming gifts and brought them home-cooked food.

This is great for the residents, carers and for the community as a whole. People with disability have the right to live within a community, just as everyone else has

There have been reports of people whose level of communication has improved and who have experienced significant changes in their need for behavioural support after they moved out of a large residential centre.

The family of a woman who moved into the new Point Claire group home on the Central Coast reported that they were delighted and surprised at their daughter’s response to
the move.

Not only had she settled well into the new group home but they described her as a different girl after they brought her home for a visit this week. They reported that she was
communicating more, playing games with them and laughing happily— something that was very important for this family.

The redevelopment of the Westmead and Rydalmere large residential centres is a huge project. At the start some families had reservations and I can understand this as any change can be frightening. It is wonderful to find that the project is giving their loved ones what we all hoped it would—a place to call their own and a happier, more enjoyable life within the community.