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14 September 2018          Darren Chester MP - Press Release
14 September 2018          Darren Chester MP Cuts the Ribbon
8 August 2018                    Official Opening of Prototype Freedom Housing Nest

26 September 2018 

Gippsland Times: New disability model is a world first

GLENHAVEN Estate, Sale, has become home to a world leader in disabled care, after an innovative housing project focusing on enablement, rather than disability, was unveiled recently.

Formally opened by Gippsland MHR Darren Chester, the revolutionary Freedom Housing project gives people with disabilities or those who need aged care the opportunity to live in a conventional residence with their families, but still access in-house professional care.

Four private homes are linked by a communal ‘key’, which stations home carers who can provide on-request care around the clock.

The model includes two physiotherapy rooms, with deep bath therapy available, as well as a communal kitchen and lounge.

The design facilitates early intervention low care, up to 24/7 high care, and can also provide palliative care.

The George Gray Centre board and chief executive Ian Hunt championed the $2.4 million housing development, which initially had some trouble gaining momentum because of planning and development regulations.

Winner of the Australian Human Rights Commission business award, the Freedom Housing project was the brainchild of dedicated husband, Christos Iliopoulos.

“This is the distillation of nearly 40 years in my experiences in trying to look after my late wife, who had MS, and raise our children,” he said.

“My late wife, Pamela, said Chris, there has to be a better way than just to be stuck at home and not being able to be cared for properly, or to then be relinquished to a nursing home where basically you just become something that gets toileted and fed and removed from the family.

“That just kept, you know, nagging at me, so I thought perhaps there is, so I wonder what that looks like.”

After six months of agonising drafting, Mr Iliopoulos came up with the current model, which can be adapted to apartment living.

“There were a lot of things that it had to satisfy, and this four-house model, with opposing street frontages, is one that actually meets all the criteria, including United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and every object and principal of the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme] act,” he said.

“It is the only model in the world that does that today — it’s the first one on the planet.

“My daughter said, dad if you make anything that looks different to a normal house, I’m definitely not living in it.”

Mr Iliopoulos said the design could have the potential to replace almost every nursing home, group accommodation home, respite home and hospice.

“The model dispersed ubiquitously across Australia ... would actually take all those functions and would bring this sort of care back into the community,” he said.

Mr Iliopoulos added the project had gained traction across the nation, with expressions of interest flowing in from all around Australia.

 “Some of the demand is coming from those seeking alternatives to traditional-aged care nursing homes, and from ageing parents who wish to continue to live with a child who has disabilities and to also access personal care for themselves,” he said. 

“I made a promise to Pamela eight years ago that I would do all I could to see this promise through ... in a few moments, I guess that promise will be met,” he said.

“This is what she wanted for our family.”

Mr Hunt said one of the houses had already been bought by a local family, and the George Gray Centre was leasing out the remaining three at an affordable rate.

“When other local options are unsuitable, some parents have been forced to decide whether or not to leave this area altogether,” he said.

“A body corporate comprising of residents will govern the development, which means the occupants will have a say in who lives in the other homes when families move out and who provides the professional care.”

Mr Chester said the new housing option was terrific, not only for the families that were here now, but for families around Australia that would live in them in the future.

“I’m very keen to see this model proven, not just here in Gippsland, but right throughout Australia,” he said.

Mr Chester said he was proud the federal government had contributed $1.2 million to the project, while families, the George Gray Centre and North Gippsland Trust provided the balance of the money needed.

 “I think there are huge opportunities for both state and federal governments to support communities with the upfront infrastructure costs, knowing full well the long-term benefits are there for the community,” he said. 

“I think it gives people with disability and their families a great deal of dignity, respect and also a lot of comfort for older Australians who have children with disabilities so they know their children are going to be looked after going into the future.

“It’s fantastic to see George Gray Centre at the forefront of supporting families with disabilities in our community.”

http://www.gippslandtimes.com.au/story/5663171/new-disability-housing-model-is-a-world-first/?cs=1450

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Gippsland MHR Darren Chester with Deborah Kleefsman, project director Christos Iliopoulos, Jeanette and Tony Kleefsman, Ian Hunt, John Wright, Bronwynne Purdom, Ann and Bob Wright.
 

14 September 2018

Darren Chester MP - Press Release

FREEDOM HOUSING PROJECT OFFICIALLY OPENED IN SALE

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today officially opened an innovative new $2.4 million housing development designed for families and their dependents needing disability support.

George Gray Centre has led the Freedom Housing project, which comprises four neighbouring family homes linked by a common room. It is located in the Glenhaven Park estate, Sale, and is the first of its kind in Australia.

Mr Chester said he was proud the Federal Government had contributed $1.2 million to help meet demand for a new accommodation model for people with disabilities and their families. Families, the George Gray Centre and North Gippsland Trust provided the balance of money needed.

“Families with a loved one who has a disability want the very best for them, now and in the future,” Mr Chester said. “Caring for a loved one with high needs can be incredibly demanding and stressful.

“This new kind of housing enables families to live a normal family life, with easy access to professional help and disability personal care in an area connected to all four homes.”

George Gray Centre chief executive officer Ian Hunt said one of the houses had been bought by a local family and the George Gray Centre was leasing out the remaining three at an affordable rate.

“This is another accommodation option for people with disabilities and their families,” Mr Hunt said. “When other local options are unsuitable, some parents have been forced to decide whether or not to leave this area altogether.

“A body corporate comprising of residents will govern the development, which means the occupants will have a say in who lives in the other homes when families move out and who provides the professional care.”

Freedom Housing has been awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission business award. It is the brainchild of Christos Iliopoulos, who cared for his late wife at their home in Melbourne.

“I wanted to come up with an alternative to in-home care provided by loved ones and out-of-home care at a residential facility, such as a nursing home, which fragment families,” Mr Iliopoulos said. “Freedom Housing allows families to stay together.

“This is the first Freedom Housing nest to be built anywhere in Australia. We now have expressions of interest from around Australia. Some of the demand is coming from those seeking alternatives to traditional aged-care nursing homes, and from ageing parents who wish to continue to live with a child who has disabilities and to also access personal care for themselves.”

https://darrenchester.com.au/freedom-housing-project-officially-opened-in-sale/

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14 September 2018
 
Darren Chester MP Cuts the Ribbon
 
People from around Australia attended the official opening of the prototype Freedom Housing nest in Sale by the Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester MP.
 
The project was led by the George Gray Centre of Maffra and has attracted a $1,200,000 disability housing innovation grant from the Federal Department of Social Services.
 
We will be forever thankful that the George Gray Centre Board and Ian Hunt CEO decided to champion Freedom Housing in their community.
 
A big thank you is reserved for our architects Nicholas Daviotis and Alex Gecse (Nicholas & Alexander Architects) for their extensive pro bono work over the past 8 years, and especially for producing the concept drawings, and for their extraordinary dedication to the project.
 
We now look forward to working with the Key Committee (the committee of family representatives) to ensure that those requiring care - and their families - are cared for well into the future.
 
Further proposed developments of Freedom Housing nests - in both house and apartment form - are in progress around Australia and in England.
 
If you would like to live in Freedom Housing or you'd like to make an ethical investment, we invite you to make an application for a Registration of Interest.
 
The promise to Pamela has been fulfilled: now a happier and more humane era in disability care - and in aged-care - may begin.
 
 

"Congratulations!  Excellent news!  This is so obviously a Good Thing that (alas, like many obviously Good Things), it’s surprising that it hasn’t been a well-established model for a long time.  I hope your prototype serves to change that."

Professor Warwick Fox
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom
 
 

 

 

 
 
Click on the photograph above to watch the Channel 9 News clip

 
 
 
8 August 2018
 
Official Opening of Prototype Freedom Housing Nest
 
This is the George Gray Centre Freedom Housing nest in Gippsland: the prototype of the Freedom Housing concept.
 
The nest will be opened officially at 11 AM on Friday 14 September by Darren Chester MP the Federal Member for Gippsland, Minister for Veteran's Affairs and Defence Personnel.
 
Please contact us if you would like an invitation to attend the official opening.
 
 

 

 

The Freedom Housing nest. The two houses (above) are connected
via the Key to the houses situated in the opposing street (below).