A happy home is a building block to independence

A happy home is a building block to independence
Posted on Wed 3 Jul 2019

Written by Tina Wild

Home really is where the heart is. International studies indicate that the home environment affects your health and wellbeing. More than just a physical building, your home is a sanctuary; where you spend most of your time, socialise with friends and family, unwind and be your true self.

Feeling comfortable, secure and connected to family or house mates in your living space reduces stress. This is particularly important for people living with disability, because having reduced physical or cognitive function creates additional stressors. CPA transform lives through finding the perfect home for clients who need accommodation support.

CPA is passionate about creating a happy home that feels like a family of friends for people with a range of complex disabilities, and has been doing this for more than 60 years. Currently, we provide accommodation services through 100 sites across the Sydney metropolitan and Newcastle areas supporting around 400 clients, children and adults, who live with a range of disabilities.


How accommodation for disability has changed since the NDIS

The introduction of the NDIS has had incredibly positive change on the accommodation landscape for people living with disabilities. As a result, people living with a disability now have access to:

  • More access to funding
  • More choice of accommodation
  • Increased independence


Access to funding

The new NDIS rules offer the possibility of an inclusive Australian society  by enabling those people with the highest disability-related support needs to have equal access to mainstream services including housing and specialist accommodation.

According to Tim Pines, CPA General Manager Accommodation and Respite, the funding in accommodation since the NDIS has risen from $15 billion to $22 billion, which has opened up significantly greater opportunities for people with a disability to access housing.

“More people can now access the accommodation market following the NDIS. A lot of our clients didn’t have funding and were living at home with aged parents. “It’s a whole new world where the control is in the hands of the individual,” says Tim.


More choice

Since the changes in accommodation, CPA clients now have access to a larger pool of accommodation options. For example, if a family moves interstate, now their loved one living with a disability and requiring accommodation has the freedom and choice to move to a house interstate to remain close to them. Maintaining that regular contact and relationship is really important for their wellbeing.

 CPA Accommodation Coordinator, Megan VanDalen believes that since the introduction of the NDIS,

“it’s now a better system with more choice for people with disabilities requiring accommodation. More people have been successfully housed.”

We work with clients’ and their families to ensure they are able to get the right funding outcomes to achieve their goals.Tim Pines agrees, he says,

“We’re seeing a quantum shift where more people are being helped, and those people have more choice because the money belongs to them, it’s no longer government driven.”



Access to funding creates choice which builds a sense of independence. People can now choose where they spend their funding – whether that’s in accommodation, on equipment, or on activities and day programs – subject to what their funding includes.


A person-centred approach to finding the perfect home

As a CPA Accommodation Coordinator, Megan VanDalen asks herself every day how she can make a difference to her clients, and how she can fulfil a person’s hopes and dreams by finding them the perfect home.

“It’s not just about filling gaps and fulfilling the business model, you’re dealing with real people and their personalities. You need to consider the group dynamic, their interests, compatibility and what a good match will look like. There’s a lot of problem solving, decision making and advocacy involved,” says Megan.


Finding the perfect home for Ashley was transformative

CPA client Ashley, had his life transformed when he moved to a new home in Sydney’s northern beaches. CPA Accommodation Coordinator, Megan VanDalen was instrumental in bringing about this change and witnessed Ashley’s transformation firsthand.

Ashley is in his late 40s and lives with Down Syndrome. For most of his life, he’s been accommodated in Cromer. But recently, House Team Leader, Helen Reynolds noticed Ashley wasn’t happy and raised the problem with Megan. After some exploring they realised his home environment was making him unhappy. His housemates were quite boisterous extroverted personalities, but as an introvert, Ashley wasn’t connecting with his housemates, and didn’t feel he had the freedom he needed to build his independence.

Some blue sky thinking led Megan to spot a perfect opportunity for Ashley n Elanora Heights. Megan already knew the people who lived there and thought it would be the right fit. After Ashely visited the house and met the residents, he decided immediately he wanted to move. With his parents’ consent, Megan put the wheels in motion.

Ashley’s new life includes a whole host of hobbies, social activities and new-found freedom. He goes on ferry rides, travels on the train, swims in the pool with friends, is planning a holiday, attends dance classes and has moved his desk into the common living area to socialise with house mates in the evening. He’s also started cooking, whereas previously, he’d become very isolated, staying in his room, not socialising and doing minimal activities.

With more freedom, Ashely’s now empowered to become more independent.

His whole attitude changed - from an unhappy, withdrawn man to a more independent, active, sociable soul,” says Megan.

 “You can see it in his face and even in his posture, he’s upright and proud now,” says Megan. “It’s so rewarding to see that transformation.”


Did you know CPA also provides short term accommodation (Respite) for children, teenagers and adults?

Call 1800 888 378 to speak to a Customer Service Consultant about your short term or long term accommodation needs.

In support of World Autism Awareness Day at CPA, Tamsin Colley, one of our CP Active Champions, shares her experience being diagnosed with autism, her strengths, ambitions and the shifts she would like to see in attitudes towards autism. 

Questions? Come along to a free online Wills information Session to find out the basics of Will writing and have your questions answered by a solicitor.

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We have been providing supported short and long term accommodation for people with a range of disabilities for more than 60 years.

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