ALL SMILES: Support worker Jenny Cowan with Steven Warrington-Wood and his cat Millie.
ALL SMILES: Support worker Jenny Cowan with Steven Warrington-Wood and his cat Millie. Cordell Richardson

New homes to address shortage of disability housing

THE stories of people languishing in hospitals or nursing homes who don't belong there is sadly all too common.

Disability service provider Empowered to Care director Jo-Anne Daley knows this fact better than most.

She recounts the tale of one young woman stuck in the Esk Hospital for five months, not for medical reasons but just because no-one else could take her on.

The woman didn't venture out on to the grounds during that time.

The patient has now found a place to call home, living in an Ipswich house designed to accommodate her needs while allowing her to live how she wants.

Empowered Community Living, a subsidiary company of Empowered To Care, has finished the construction of two homes in the Waterlea Walloon estate with another on the way.

The houses are built to specialist disability accommodation and supported independent living specifications with support workers on hand 24/7 to take care of the three residents in each home.

Ms Daley said the homes were built to address a severe shortage of such housing in Queensland and the rest of Australia.

"These places are open to people who have been inappropriately placed in nursing homes or hospitals," she said.

"The amount of people right now (in that situation) after speaking even just to local hospitals and rural hospitals is big."

Another resident, Stephen Warrington-Wood, 43, said he enjoyed the extra support since moving in a month ago after living with his sister in Minden.

Ms Daley said the houses were set up to make residents feel right at home.

"It's running really well," she said.

"There's a lot of space, they're not just crammed in. Everyone has their own and their own ability to do what they want to do.

"It's become like an extended family in a way. It is their home.

"It's very affordable rent so they end up with a good part of their disability pension to use for activities and things like that."

Friends and family are free to come and go as they like and a barbecues are held on a Saturday night with an open invite.

She said the houses would reduce the strain on hospitals and nursing homes, as well as reduce the strain on the tax payer.

Ms Daley said the business plans to build more houses where they are needed most, with Logan the "next main target".