18 October 2018

Grant helps more young people with high care needs like Belinda to stay at home

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For young people with high care needs like Belinda, the risk of entering inappropriate housing such as aged care is very real if you don’t have the right equipment and support.

When her father Pat ran short of funds to modify the bathroom in the family home, that thought became even more real. While the house was otherwise fully renovated to accommodate Belinda’s high care needs, Pat had many sleepless nights, having to help her to and from the bathroom, as it was not safe for her to go on her own.

Fortunately, Belinda received an At Home Care Grant (AHCG) from Youngcare last year which ensured a new toilet was installed, the bathtub removed, and the tiles replaced with a non-slip surface, along with other features to give her the confidence and independence to go to the bathroom unassisted.

Now more young people like Belinda will be empowered to lead better lives, with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland recently providing another significant grant of $200,000 towards Youngcare’s At Home Care Grants program in the state.

Since 2016, Hand Heart Pocket has provided $500,000 worth of grants, helping more than 90 young people with high care needs to stay at home and out of inappropriate housing.

Youngcare’s AHCGs provide one-off funding between $2,000 and $10,000 for equipment, home modifications and emergency respite for young people aged 18-65, who are at risk of entering inappropriate housing such as aged care, allowing them to remain at home with their families, for as long as possible.

“Belinda would always say to me and her mum, “I just hope I can live in my own home”, so that was a long-term plan to eventually put our last home into a trust for her,” said Pat.

“We’d set it up so that it could be her home and she could have a choice of who lived with her, what staff goes into the house and cares for her, you don’t get that choice in a supported housing kind of model. The best way for Belinda to actually enjoy her life is to be able to live in her own home.”

Youngcare Chief Executive Officer Anthony Ryan said young people, regardless of their care needs deserve to choose how they live their lives.

“We all have a role to play to ensure young people with high care needs lead young lives with greater choice, dignity and independence,” Anthony said.

“Each year, our Queensland AHCGs are over-subscribed with many young people missing out. Through their generous support Hand Heart Pocket has helped to ensure this life-changing support is available to more families so that their loved one has a dignified and safe place to live,” he said.

“The program has also been a catalyst for identifying gaps in funding for specialised equipment and support, enabling us to get a clearer picture of what’s really needed to allow a young person with high care needs to remain at home. From this information, we can look to put things in place to create change for more young people with high care needs.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing a hand up for individuals and other charities that have limited access to other funding was their focus.

“Initiatives that empower people to lead more independent lives resonates with us. By providing this additional funding over the years, more young people have been able to thrive in the family home instead of going into inappropriate housing,” Gary said.

“It is great that our support is not just helping those who directly receive the grants, but it is also giving Youngcare a hand up to create change for all young people with high care needs across the state.”

Photo: More young people with high care needs will be empowered to stay at home and out of inappropriate housing, following a $200,000 grant from Hand Heart Pocket to Youngcare.

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