By Charlie Pears-Wallace
Housing Options Scotland (HOS) is launching a new service that provides assistance to disabled people moving out for the first time.
‘Making Moves’ will benefit any disabled person looking to transition to independent living, however it has been created with young people in mind.
Jil Dyson-Fyffe, a broker at HOS, is leading the service: “Being young myself, I understand the need for independence. Often, housing providers see it as a solution if a young person is living at home. But if you’re reaching adulthood and becoming more independent, living with your current guardian isn’t always the best option in the long term.”
HOS has produced a guide that breaks down the housing process and acts as a first step to looking at independent living.
Jil said: “It can often be the parents and guardians who begin the process. We wanted to produce an easy-read guide, so that they could begin to look through housing options with the young person without getting too bogged down. It’s about introducing the idea without it being scary.”
Should they want to take this further, the next stage is a Planning Meeting. Anyone involved in the care of the person can be included- from parents to social workers- and it helps the charity to get a clearer idea of what is needed in their future.
Jil encouraged her clients to look at the bigger picture: “We really try to get young clients to think beyond the bricks and mortar, or the number of bedrooms they want. It’s thinking about bus links, their hobbies, and where they can live happily.”
Young people can also initiate contact with the charity directly, as Calum Grevers did late last year. As a 28-year-old, he was craving independence and wanted to move out of the family home. Because he has muscular dystrophy, living at home has been necessary for him. But like most young men of his age, he wants to have his own home: “I’m limited to the ground floor of my parents’ home and don’t have my own space other than my bedroom. An accessible home of my own would not just be somewhere to stay, but my workplace and platform for greater independence, setting me off on a journey of personal growth and self-discovery.”
The service began trials earlier in the year and the feedback has been very positive; parents have commented that “The Making Moves Guide to Independent Living will be really useful to start opening the conversation”, and a young client talked about the benefit of having all information in one place.
Jil cannot wait for more clients to come on board and start to think about taking that important step: “Being disabled shouldn’t be a barrier for living independently. We want disabled young people to truly know what their options are and not be afraid to explore them.”