MS Queensland Support Worker Tegan Kemp, MS sufferer and new Springfield Apartments resident Jenny Andon and Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey AC.
MS Queensland Support Worker Tegan Kemp, MS sufferer and new Springfield Apartments resident Jenny Andon and Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey AC. Jack Harlem Photography

High needs patients take ownership of purpose built homes

THE Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey AC has officially opened 18 purpose built disability apartments in Springfield's Health City.

The apartments are the first round of disability housing built by MS Queensland as part of their Project Dignity 120, aiming to raise awareness and funds for 120 new high need homes across Queensland for young people.

New resident Jenny Andon was able to cut the ribbon on the day with Mr de Jersey, and now keeps it in her room as a special memory.

Supported Accommodation Manager, Olivia Kay said while Ms Andon can't express how she feels in words she was very happy on the day.

"Jenny was over the moon about cutting the ribbon to officially open her home, the Springfield Apartments," Ms Kay said.

"Jenny has been in supported accommodation for many years is beyond happy with her modern and fully accessible new apartment."

 

Patricia Michell Springfield Apartments' resident, Alosina Perelini MS Queensland Support Worker and Julianne Rowan Springfield Apartments' resident.
Patricia Michell Springfield Apartments' resident, Alosina Perelini MS Queensland Support Worker and Julianne Rowan Springfield Apartments' resident. Jack Harlem Photography

Mr de Jersey said he was honoured as Patron of MS Queensland to officially open the apartments.

"It is a day that has been long in the planning, and I congratulate and thank everyone who has played a part," he said.

"It is also a day of hope for the entire MS community for those living with the disease but also for their family and friends, who have been faced with the possibility or reality of loved ones living in aged care facilities from a young age.

"Until now there has been very few options for those with complex housing needs.

"While there are certainly excellent aged care facilities in our State, many people living with MS who require such assistance do not fit within the usual aged care demographic.

"For the first time, people with MS and other progressive neurological diseases have access to purpose-built, age-appropriate, innovative high needs accommodation, where they can live with the independence and quality of life that is sometimes taken for granted by others their age.

"It is to be hoped that one day in the very near future there will be a cure. While we await that day, we celebrate what Project Dignity 120 is achieving here in Springfield."

 

Ingrid Blake Springfield Apartments' Resident taking representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on a tour of her new apartment.
Ingrid Blake Springfield Apartments' Resident taking representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on a tour of her new apartment. Jack Harlem Photography

CEO of MS Queensland Lincoln Hopper said there was a high needs housing crisis in Queensland.

"There is a disability housing crisis in Queensland and finding age appropriate high care housing for people living with progressive neurological diseases like MS is extremely difficult," Mr Hopper said.

"Many young people have little choice but to move into aged-care accommodation because there is nowhere else to go."

Thanks to this project the lives of 18 young people have transformed as they now have their own private homes built with smart design, accessible technology, appropriate care and 24/7 support when it's needed in Springfield.

"Understanding what people with progressive neurological diseases really need and with our mission of restoring dignity, we are creating amazing homes that are genuinely inviting, modern, bright but a practical place to call home," Mr Hopper said."

 

Ingrid Blake's husband Geoff Blake showing the features of the apartments like hoists that can be hidden so disability equipment doesn't dominate the space making the apartment a home.
Ingrid Blake's husband Geoff Blake showing the features of the apartments like hoists that can be hidden so disability equipment doesn't dominate the space making the apartment a home. Jack Harlem Photography

Springfield is just the beginning with plans to build apartments across 10 locations in Queensland including Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane."

In June 2018, 611 people responded to an MS Queensland housing questionnaire reinforcing the critical need for more high need housing,

  • 35% of people have mobility issues where they are currently living,
  • 48% find hard it to maintain their dignity at home currently (dress, wash, toilet),
  • 57% are experiencing some degree of social isolation,
  • 46% attribute this isolation to their living situation,
  • concern about future needs in housing is impacting 75% of respondents.


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