A life altering accident was just the start of Stuart’s struggle to live in a home of his own. His story is a prime example of why National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding timeframes need to be substantially shortened.
Stuart spent most of his life without a disability.
But in 2018, while travelling in Nepal, he was involved in a serious motorbike accident that left him declared braindead and fighting for his life.
After spending over 2 years in hospitals and rehab, Stuart defied the odds and started to recover.
He is now a complete paraplegic, but mentally, Stuart is what he describes as “ninety-eight to ninety-nine per cent of what I was before.”
After rehab, Stuart’s circumstances meant that he had nowhere to go. He was moved into a group home with four other people, sharing a two-bedroom villa with one of the residents.
Unfortunately, the home was not built to accommodate someone in a wheelchair like Stuart. And with Stuart only having a very mild intellectual impairment, there were no other residents at the home who he could talk to on the same level.
“I felt trapped by my home,” says Stuart.
A Glimmer of Hope
When Stuart found out about The Wave apartments at Rockdale, he began to feel hope. The architecturally designed stunning apartments – delivered by Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) housing provider Enliven Housing – are centrally located and assistive technology ready. Sylvanvale is proud to be the on-call 24/7 support provider for the residents who live there.
The fully accessible apartments would mean that Stuart could finally live independently again. He would be able to cook, which was one of his favourite pastimes and something his environment had prevented him from doing since the accident.
At The Wave, Stuart would also have easy access to shops and a great view of the airport, reminding him of the days when he was an aircraft engineer. He would be located close to friends and would be able to have family to come and stay whenever he wanted.
He would have on-call support from Sylvanvale when he needed it but would otherwise be fully independent. In Stuart’s words, “I would finally have freedom”.
Fight for NDIS Funding
Stuart applied for an apartment and his application was accepted, conditional upon him having appropriate SDA National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding.
But the NDIS funding Stuart needed did not come through. He was only granted 2:1 funding, which meant that the 58-year-old would be required to live with at least one other person. He would not be able to live independently in an apartment of his own at The Wave.
Stuart took his case to the NDIS Administrative Appeals Tribunal, backed by a strong support team. Thanks to Enliven Housing’s generous support, Stuart was able to move into The Wave, hoping he would eventually receive the NDIS funding that would enable him to stay there. But the uncertainty that he might have to move out and find somewhere else less suitable to live continued to be an enormous strain on him.
It took 21 months – over 600 harrowing days of lobbying and waiting – for Stuart to finally receive the funding that would give him the ability to live life as he should.
According to Stuart, “The mental health of having to wait, on top of the mental health of having to put up with being unable to walk anymore…It’s soul destroying.”