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What To Avoid

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A common experience for people with disability is that they are provided a disability-specific response to ‘home’ - that is, a version of home really different to everyone else. People are often grouped into living together based on diagnosis rather than their choices. “People should not compel nor coerce people to live together based on economic efficiencies.“ (Michael Kendrick)


What makes one’s home is the same whether you have a disability or not. However, for people with disability, historically this has not been the case. People with disability are often only offered disability-specific responses to ‘home’ - that is, a version of home quite different to everyone else.  Often people are grouped together based on their diagnosis. They might be fitted into a 'vacancy' rather than building their own sense of home. Their home becomes a workplace in which there is little privacy, choice and control.

“A group home does not solve issues of loneliness and isolation but can actually accentuate people’s difficulties and sense of isolation. Vacancy management, poor matches, inadequate supports and poor need assessment can create and exacerbate a range of emotional, communicative and behavioural difficulties. The alternative to group homes is not necessarily living alone, or living a lonely life. Instead of investing in group homes, funds need to be invested in a range of ordinary housing options, alternative supports and the strengthening of the skills of support people.” (Family Advocacy, 2008)

Teenage female sitting in a cardboard box

Key Points

  • What makes one’s home their own is not determined by whether you have a disability or not.

  • We do not generally live with a group of strangers based on diagnosis but a heartfelt connection and choice.

  • We do not generally live in accommodation, look for a vacancy, empty bed, site, facility, center, etc. when looking for a new place to call home.

  • Home is different for everyone and individuality can be lost in a group home

  • When people are grouped together, meeting an individual's needs, tastes and preferences can be difficult. This is also true for social inclusion.

  • In congregate or group settings, people can be seen as a client rather than a neighbour, home owner, tenant, community member, etc.

  • In congregate living, one person's needs can outweigh everyone's else. 

  • There is often a higher risk of rejection, life wasting or bad things happening when segregated and isolated from the eyes of society.

  • When services dominate the lives of people, freely given relationships and connections can be severed or their involvement seen as unnecessary. 

Watch Videos

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Saving Luke 
by Mark Modra (Produced by Belonging Matters)

In this emotional presentation Mark Modra, desribes the devastating effects of group home living for his son Luke. After being kept captive for many years, Luke now lives in his own home in country Victoria.

Click on the Video to watch ->

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Australia deinstitutionalisation - What next? 
by Michael Kendrick (Produced by Belonging Matters)

Although Australia was a leader in closing institutions, Dr Michael Kendrick suggests that it faces on going challenges in the way accommodation is provided to people with a disability.

Click on the Video to watch ->

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It's never too late
by June Arthy (Produced by Belonging Matters)

In this presentation June Arthy describes her life in an institution and how with some support from some friends she now lives in her own place - reinforcing that at any age its never too late!

Click on the Video to watch ->

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The importance of home and personal fulfillment
by Michael Kendrick (Produced by Belonging Matters)

What are the important issues to address when assisting a person to create a real home.

Click on the Video to watch ->

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Distortions of Home
by Janet Klees (Produced by Belonging Matters)

Home is personal and so should be one person at a time. When services are involved with creating homes for a large number of people, distortions about what is home evolve.  The house is essentially owned and controlled, and decisions made by the service. Rules and regulations become the norm, overriding hospitality and welcome. 

Click on the Video to watch ->



Read icon

How genuinely supportive persons, agencies and systems can enable people to have real homes of their own.
by Michael Kendrick

Michael Kendrick’s article provides a road map about how people with complex needs can have real homes and how genuinely supportive people and systems can uphold an individual’s sovereignty or control over their own home.

Image of Michael Kendrick
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Segregation and congregation and the gaining of a real home
by Bob Jackson

In this article, Bob Jackson explores the barriers that arise when people with disability are placed in to group settings, and why being placed in a group can be a barrier for many of the good things in life.

Image of Bob Jackson
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Creating a place for Matthew
by Libby and Judith Ellis.

Judith and Libby Ellis share how they assisted Matthew to create a place of his own. This story is set against the backdrop of Matthew living in an institution and what it took to liberate not only Matthew, but his family.

image of Matthew on a cruise boat
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At least the barbed wire has gone now
by Bob Lee.

Bob Lee urges us to resist the temptation to associate the strong walls of institutions with protection from harm and believing that the congregation of people with disability is anything like family life. Institutionalised settings deprive people of a sense of home, safety and security, and limit people’s potential for a good life.

image of Barb Wire
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Why are group homes no longer optimal
by Michael Kendrick

Michael Kendrick outlines why group homes are no longer optimal and discusses what options are leading edge

Michael Kendrick
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Families for change: supported living edition
by Family Advocacy

A series of short articles which 1) Argue for supported living to be implemented in NSW. 2) Explore policy directions for 24 hr housing and support both nationally and internationally. 3) Advertise a separate website geared towards empowering people to create their own supported living arrangements. 4) Explore the choices available for people with disabilities to get a home and the efforts by the Community Living Program to support people to have a home of their own. and 5) Describe seven strategies likely to help people with disabilities have a home.

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