More than a place to leave your belongings

A place to belong

Resident Lee Leary with Project Independence founder, Glenn Keys

The Australian dream is to own a home and stand next to the sold sign with a big smile and an even bigger sense of achievement. But for Australians with an intellectual disability this dream and that feeling is, or should we say was impossible.

Australians with an intellectual disability have the lowest rate of homeownership, but things are looking up thanks to Project Independence – a Canberra born and built idea that makes homeownership a reality for those with an intellectual disability.

In short, Project Independence buyers put down a 10 per cent deposit, and a percentage of their disability support pension pays for their mortgage, food, cleaning and support service. Once the owner decides to move onto bigger, better and more independent things they can sell their property onto another person with an intellectual disability.

ActewAGL recently installed four new reverse heating and cooling systems across Project Independence homes located in Harrison and Latham.

Lee, aged 57 has lived in a Project Independence home for just over one year, and he is loving it.

“I moved from a group home, I said to myself I need to be more independent, live the life I want to live.”

“So first my mum helped me financially and now I make sure I do the rest.”

“I have being living it up since I’ve been here.”

This housing model sees each owner in separate units with access to a shared kitchen and dining room – its independent living with support and guidance.

Lee is an avid fan of the Melbourne Storm NRL team, he chose unit number one because that’s Billy Slater’s number. Without Project Independence Lee wouldn’t have been able to choose his house number, choose to adorn his walls with Storm memorabilia or have a safe place for a very impressive collection of over 3,000 DVDs, all alphabetically ordered.

“One in five Australians has a disability and the majority of people within the NDIS have an intellectual disability.

“There is no other model of homeownership like this in Australia and we believe there is no other model anywhere in the world”, said Project Independence Founder Glenn Keys.

“A home is one of the most basic things that we seek; its security, it’s somewhere to go, somewhere to be safe and a place to keep our things and know that our things and our personal life are safe.

ActewAGL recently installed four new reverse heating and cooling systems across Project Independence homes located in Harrison and Latham.“And yet for so many they never have that… Group homes are typically the only living option, so you could be 30, 40, 50 years of age or like Lee almost 60, living in a home with others not of your choosing – that’s unacceptable.”

There are 20 homes in total located in Harrison and Latham with another 10 to be built in Phillip. Mr Keys is also looking to expand the model to Melbourne where there is an absolute urgent need for this housing model.

Glenn, beaming with pride says, “I can’t wait until the day a Project Independence owner comes to me and says, I want to sell this unit. That will be huge because for someone who could barely enter the market to not only enter it but to make a profit is amazing.”

Project Independence is more than a place to leave your belongings, it’s a place to belong and if you’d like to support the next build in Phillip visit:

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