Community living bid

Community living bid

A GROUP of local families are in desperate need for a space in Ocean Grove to ensure the lives of their loved ones can remain as comfortable as possible.
Members of the Bellarine Supported Living group, made up of people with family members living with intellectual disabilities, are rallying together to spread the importance of much needed supported accommodation in the region.
There are many people with disabilities locally who live with ageing parents and who are in need of this support,” Local resident Sophie Thomas, sister of Chris, explained. “Despite the high demand, there is a chronic shortage of places to live for people with disabilities,” Sophie added.
The group has been looking for possible sites in Ocean Grove that are within flat, easy walking distance of shops, public transport and services. With this in mind, the group have come across the Ocean Grove Netball Reserve as a potential space.
“If Council make the decision to sell the old netball courts we’re hoping they may consider keeping a portion of this land in public ownership to be used for housing for people with disabilities. As has been done elsewhere, the land could be offered for long term lease to a housing provider or disability services provider through a tender process,” Sophie said.
The group has spent the last several years researching different models around Victoria and interstate to find something they can achieve here in Ocean Grove. “We’re looking at a house for four or five people with carer sleep-over facilities. It’s not going to meet existing demand but it will be a whole lot more than what we’ve got now,” Sophie said.
The Bellarine Peninsula currently has no long term supported accommodation for people with disabilities, though the population is a sizeable 52,000 which is expected to increase to around 65,000 by 2021.
“My daughter is reliant upon us for everything that makes her life complete but we are ageing and have health issues so what will happen when we are unable to care for her in the surroundings of our community that she is comfortable with?” local resident Lyn Swan explained. Norm Thomas, a local 75-year-old single parent, worries where his son Chris will live when he can no longer be his full time carer. “Chris is 39 years old and needs 24-hour care. Chris has lived in Ocean Grove all his life and has family, good friends and strong community connections here. My biggest wish is that Chris can remain in the community that he knows and loves,” Norm explained.

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