Three years ago Keren and husband John began thinking about Thomas’s post-graduation accommodation needs. The couple, who run care homes for elderly people, found that most supported living services would have seen Thomas living with people he had little in common with.
“We couldn’t put a young man into a house with people in their 40s and 50s,” explains Keren. “So John and I sought out other like-minded parents and discussed criteria. We looked at where we wanted a property to be and where Thomas and the others wanted to be.”
The couple found a property in the newly developed marina area of Portishead. “The wheels of social care do not move quickly, so we bought the house and have retrospectively sold it on to Golden Lane Housing,” says Keren. In early August Thomas and three others moved into the property. “They helped to carry out interviews to choose support staff. I think that this project is the way forward. We’ve proven to the authorities that it needn’t take forever to find people the housing that suits their needs.”
Paul and Karen Pullan live together in a housing association property in Cove, Hampshire
Karen applied for the Pavilion Housing Association property through Hampshire County Council eight years ago. Previously she had been in supported living but wanted to be more independent. In 2003 she married Paul, who moved in to share the house together. A support worker visits the couple once a week to help out around the house. Paul and Karen pay their rent through a combination of wages from part time jobs and benefits money.
“It’s been hard because the literature that the housing association send us isn’t very understandable,” says Paul. “They need to work this out so that people with a range of disabilities get the chance to apply for social housing.
“We might want to buy in the future but I need to know what support is available
to help me do this – I’m worried that private landlords could lead us astray and rip us off.”
Tel: 0845 456 1497 or go to: www.housingoptions.org.uk
Learning Disability Helpline
Tel: 0808 808 1111 (England), 0845 7636 227 (Northern Ireland) or 0808 8000 300 (Wales)
Golden Lane Housing
Go to: www.glh.org.uk
National Centre for Independent Living
Go to: www.ncil.org.uk
Go to: www.mysafehome.info
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Their report The impact of the Supporting People programme on adults with learning disabilities is at: www.jrf.org.uk