A FEW suburbs from where he grew up, Fr Bryan Roe stands on soil that will become home to some young Queenslanders in desperate need.
Fr Roe knows their plight – he was once a teenage tennis star on the path to a famous professional career. Within 24 hours, he was paralysed and in need of high physical care.
It took four years before Fr Roe emerged from his wheelchair,his tennis career over because of the Guillain Barre Syndrome that had struck him at age 19.
So, the circle had turned late last year when Fr Roe joined representatives from Youngcare and the Moreton Bay Regional Council to mark the signing of a deal that will deliver homes to young Queenslanders with high-care needs.
The Archdiocese of Brisbane has joined with Youngcare to build an accessible, mixed-use housing development at North Lakes, where Fr Roe is the parish priest.
“This will be a wonderful project that will change the lives of some young Queenslanders,” Fr Roe said.
“Youngcare does outstanding work, particularly for young people who need to be able to live the lives they deserve.”
The partnership comes at a critical time, coinciding with accessible accommodation opportunities triggered by the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Specialist Disability Accommodation reforms in July this year, and the outstanding need for accessible housing in the Moreton Bay region.
Youngcare chief executive officer Anthony Ryan said the development would allow more young Queenslanders with high-care needs to live the young lives they deserve as valued members of a wider, integrated community.
“Currently, there are around 2500 young Queenslanders with high-care needs living in institutionalised housing like aged care and hospital rooms, with more than 200 of them living in the Moreton Bay region,” he said.
“With the support of the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, we can change the future for some of these young people, and provide them with the dignity and choice they deserve through the construction of housing to suit their needs.”
Upon completion in late 2019, the integrated development will befully equipped with state-of-the-art high-care technology and equipment,featuring onsite and around-the-clock care, catering to residents’ individual needs.
Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Allan Sutherland said the council was proud to partner with Youngcare and the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane to work as a community towards greater inclusivity through accessible infrastructure.
“More than 160,000 young Australians call Moreton Bay home, and it’s important not one of them is left behind,” he said.
“This partnership will ensure young people in our community with high-care needs can live with greater independence in accommodation best-suited for them.
“The Astley Parade site is the perfect location for Youngcare’s newest project with great access to local shops, amenities, medical centres and facilities, and public transport services.”
Councillor for Division 4 Julie Greer congratulated Youngcare on its efforts to support young Australians.
“Youngcare has done a brilliant job helping to shape the lives of many young Australians, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to work together with Anthony and his team to bring this development to North Lakes,” Cr Greer said.
“As a community we’re working towards greater inclusivity through accessible infrastructure, services and most recently, the adoption of our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan, and Youngcare’s announcement builds on that progress.”
The Archdiocese of Brisbane has taken a development lease for the Astley Parade site with the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
The archdiocese, which will fund the design and construction, will buy the land which will then be leased to Youngcare.
Assistant director of allied health Leanne Carroll said MetroNorth Hospital and Health Services had also been working alongside Youngcare to identify people aged 18-65 who were in need of accessible housing and full-time care.
“There is a significant demand for supported housing in the region, and we are working with Youngcare to identify the development’s first residents,” she said.
Youngcare invites those aged 18-65 with high physical care needs to express their interest by calling the Youngcare Connect Team on 1800 844 727.
Youngcare is a not-for-profit organisation spearheading powerful and positive change to create a future where every young person has the freedom and choice to live the lives we all deserve. For more than 13 years, Youngcare has been tackling a national issue – there are simply too many young people with high-care needs being left behind in inappropriate and unacceptable housing. Youngcare needs support to change the disability housing sector once and for all; giving young people with high-care needs the power and ability to choose where and how they live their lives.