Blake and Ryan's story

Blake and Ryan are enjoying their flatting lifestyle since moving into a house in Albany, thanks to Choice in Community Living.

My brother Ryan and I have a genetic disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II. The condition usually prevents living past the age of six, but my brother and I are now in our early 20s.

Blake and Ryan
Blake and Ryan are now flatting, thanks to the Ministry of Health’s Choice in Community Living demonstration.

It was never expected that we would live to this age or that we would live relatively ‘normal’ lives. Instead we went to public schools, had social lives, I had a religious life for a time, we’ve been involved in our community, I’ve had a part-time job, and we both went to university. The only ‘normal’ thing left by this point was to go flatting.

So we did. At the beginning of the year, my brother decided to start looking into our options so that we could continue the ‘normal’ part of our lives. When looking through the funding options, it became very clear that the only way to receive the 24/7 care we required was if we were to live together and share some hours.

So we did. We began searching for houses that could accommodate our needs. This meant room for two wheelchairs, room for equipment such as a hoist and specialty beds, a single-floor design, a landlord who wouldn’t mind small alterations, and space for a disability van. After going through a number of houses with differing levels of required accommodations, a place in Albany was found that appeared to be almost exactly what we needed.

While we were house-hunting, we also had to talk with the powers-that-be about the funding options that were available to us. After being referred to a number of organisations that might meet our needs – namely funding for 24/7 care – we decided to take up options available to us through the Ministry of Health’s Choice in Community Living demonstration and go with Renaissance to support us. The main reason for this was the ability to mould the funding we receive from the Ministry of Health specifically to our needs.

Rather than telling us how much money we would pay for however many hours of care, we were given the flexibility of finding our own independent carers. Renaissance would contract them and have more of an assistant role than that of a director. If my brother or I have any queries in the way in which the funding is used or can be used, they aid us in that capacity.

Furthermore, they are completely transparent with what happens with the funding. Whether it be the funding paid to our carers, the admin costs, or the amount of funding we have in reserve, we are completely in the know. We even have the option of looking at the finances over the internet.

After living in our apartment for going-on five months, Ryan and I have no complaints. Our carers have been paid on time every fortnight, there is complete transparency in relation to our funding and requirements, and Renaissance have been completely accommodating. Ryan and I wanted to move out of home with minimal friction, so we did.

Watch AttitudeLive's video of Blake and Ryan. For regular updates from AttitudeLive, visit their Facebook page or sign up to their newsletter.

Choice in Community Living is part of the Ministry of Health’s New Model for Supporting Disabled People. It offers eligible disabled people the opportunity to move out of their family home or a residential facility and into their own home. It also offers choice and control of how people are supported in their own home and community.

Back to top