Horizon Housing Gives the Gift of Independence

30 May 14

New development to help people living with a severe disability on the Gold Coast

Horizon Housing will launch a new social housing initiative on Thursday, 29 May, providing accommodation for people living with a severe disability on the Gold Coast.

The joint initiative with Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and Trinity Disability Support Service will see three disabled residents including Cathy McMahon, Jocelyn Carstens and Gabriel White move into a three-bedroom purpose-built home, allowing them to live independently for the first time in their lives.

The $875,000 home is specifically designed to cater to the tenant’s unique needs and is an example of how adaptable share homes can be used to maximise quality of life for people who would otherwise be consigned to institutional care facilities.

The completion of this development comes at a time when it is estimated that 20,578 people on the Gold Coast need housing assistance as a result of their disability, which is expected to rise due to the ageing population.

Horizon Housing CEO, Jason Cubit says the organisation is committed to meeting significant social housing demand for disabled Gold coast residents, as only five per cent of three-bedroom housing stock in the region is considered affordable.

“Horizon has developed 17 of these projects across the Gold Coast and Logan under the national building program, however it is the first time we’ve partnered with Trinity Disability Support Service and is the first project that has been funded for disabilities with the current Department of Communities,” says Mr Cubit.

“While there is a shortage of accessible housing for people with a disability, Horizon is committed to supporting people in need by providing affordable, safe and comfortable housing.

“The opportunity for Horizon to create this type of accommodation is important as many people like Cathy, Jocelyn and Gabrielle are otherwise institutionalised.”

58-year-old Cathy McMahon, is unable to walk, eat or drink independently and has resided in the Baillie Henderson Hospital in Toowoomba since the age of 11.

This is the first time in her life Cathy will move into her own home, and will live closely to her twin sister, Josey McMahon, for the first time in 47 years.

Josey says they are both excited about embarking on their new life together.

“I’m so happy to see my sister move into a home that allows her to be more integrated in the community and live a more independent, meaningful and fulfilling life,” says Ms McMahon.

For 42-year-old Jocelyn Carstens who is living with Trisomy 21 (syndrome) and 44-year-old Gabrielle White living with cerebral palsy, this will be the first time they will live independently from their parents.

Jocelyn’s parents, Ian and Jo Carstens (74 and 73 years old), said the move will fit well with their daughter’s social lifestyle.

“Jocelyn attends workshops, social outings and group sports most days of the week, so we are happy she will be able to have the independence she needs,” says Ms Carstens.

70 year old Helen White is also grateful to see her daughter Gabriel move out of home for the first time.

“This move will be great for Gabriel as she’ll be able to become more integrated within the community, and it’s assuring that she will be well looked after,” says Ms White.