Disabled house shame

By LUIS FELIU

FOUR young adults with severe disabilities sharing a house in Banora Point are living like trapped rats, according to one of their mothers, upset at the lack of action to find them suitable accommodation.

The mothers of the four living in the privately-rented group home have been campaigning for more than two years for the NSW Department of Housing and the NSW Department of Ageing, Disabilities and Homecare to help them find more suitable accommodation.

Julie Stone said that despite pleas to the government agencies, no solution had yet been found to their dilemma.

Mrs Stone said the frustration felt by the four, including her 22-year-old disabled son Ryan, had spilt over to her own family as well as neighbours.

Since moving into the house two years ago, complaints from neighbours have been made to police, the real-estate agent renting the home and Tweed MP Neville Newell over noise such as shouting and shrieking.

And despite the house fitted with double-glazed windows, complaints have continued.

"Complaints have escalated and my son's behaviour has worsened - he's attacked people, including myself the other day, which left me with bruising and scratching - it's an awful situation," Mrs Stone said.

"I just want them (government agencies) to build a purpose-built place for them ... they're living like trapped rats where you can't swing a cat around there.

"They've been there over two years and all their behaviours are setting each other off because of their close proximity with only one living area ? it's horrible."

Minister for Ageing and Disability Services John Della Bosca early in March said the Department of Housing had provided approval for its affiliated agency North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) to buy alternative housing for the four disabled residents and the process had begun.

But Alan Binnie, chief executive of Coastal Accommodation Support Services (CASSI), the organisation which provides support for the residents, said progress on finding a solution had been "pretty slow and frustrating".

NCCH, Mr Binnie said, had asked his organisation to identify the type and style of house required in order to buy one but none of the properties put forward by NCCH were found to be suitable by CASSI.

"They have been looking but no suitable ones have been found - which raises the question of whether they should still be looking or is it time to build something," he said.

The problems with neighbours, Mr Binnie said, had become exacerbated and "hotted up at different times".

Also, the housing department, he said, would not tell CASSI what its budget to buy or build such a purpose-built house was but the government owned land at south Tweed Heads.

A spokesperson for NCCH could not be contacted yesterday.



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