ACT News

Housing plans for those with disabilities have music at their heart

As Canberra looks towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme becoming a reality, the ACT government has called for community input on future accommodation options for people living with disability.

An innovative housing unit has been established to support ideas for new housing and supported living opportunities in creative and unusual forms.

L- R David Sheldrick, Isaac Peel,16,  Sheree Henley, back L-R Carey Doyle, Jake Doyle,19,Brandon Dillon-Nasr,18, Diana Nasr.
L- R David Sheldrick, Isaac Peel,16, Sheree Henley, back L-R Carey Doyle, Jake Doyle,19,Brandon Dillon-Nasr,18, Diana Nasr. Photo: Melissa Adams

For Melba mother Sheree Henley and a group of other parents, it is the first step in helping their children realise their full potential.

Mrs Henley cares for her 16-year-old son Isaac who has a severe intellectual disability and is working to create a musical intentional community.

''Isaac loves all kinds of music and loves to play African drums,'' she said. ''He communicates using symbols and music provides lots more opportunities for him to communicate.

''He still has lots of potential and is still able to do many things, and I want him to live a typical life a boy his age would live.''

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With other families, she wants to see housing with a musical heart - bringing together other members of the community. ''It would be somewhere where he has the chance to build relationships with people and be of value to the community,'' Mrs Henley said.

She said the launch of the disability scheme, set to get under way in the ACT from July 1, would be a significant milestone for families across Canberra.

''It is so important and I see us being able to leverage this to really build quality, ordinary lives for our boys where they have the chance to give back,'' she said.

''They won't be draining on the community. It will give them the assistance to give back and bring tenfold benefits.''

Accommodation futures planning sessions will bring together key speakers with lived experience, financial, legal and social support backgrounds to empower people to design their own accommodation options.

A new portal will act as a one-stop website with links to both supported and independent living options, including vacancies in shared accommodation, private rental and adapted houses, and a place for people seeking compatible housemates.

■ For more information, visit www.timetotalk.act.gov.au.

Consultation closes April 16.