Making a big move

By Natalia Carozzi, 12 June 2020 , Comments

For our Taree customers, becoming firm friends through Northcott was the first step towards moving into a home together.

Emma, who was living alone before moving in with Jackie, says: “I love living the life of freedom, with company to share the fun.”

Housemate Jackie (pictured above with Emma) adds: “I have a friend to talk to if I want to and I can also do my own thing when I want to and still have my little girl Holly, my cat.”

Spending time with each other is the most exciting part of living together for Emma and Jackie, who met almost five years ago at the Northcott Everyday Life Skills program in Taree.

In late 2018, they were both thinking they needed a change, for different reasons. As they were friends, they started talking about it and the idea of moving in together dawned on them.

“I was in a bad neighbourhood and I needed to get out and move. We were friends at Northcott and I thought Emma would be a nice person to live with because she is lovely,” says Jackie.

Emma says: “I was sad and lonely, living by myself and I wanted some company. I wanted a fresh start, everything new and some freedom. I was friends with Jackie and thought she would be good to live with.

“My family was really happy to see me move to a place where I would be happy, but they were initially sad that I was leaving my hometown where I grew up.”

Jackie says her family was worried at first. “But when I told them I was moving to a better place they were happy for me,” she says.

Once the decision was made, the process took some time. To be able to move, both Jackie and Emma had to work through the process of getting Supported Independent Living (SIL) funding approved. For that, they needed to work with a Support Coordinator.

Emma had Coordination of Supports in her plan, so her Northcott Support Coordinator Hayley Maxwell worked with her and her family on suitable housing options. It was agreed that ‘drop-around support’ was no longer the most suitable option for Emma. Hayley then needed to gather evidence from allied health professionals and submit an application for Emma for 24/7 supports. The application was a smooth process and Emma was granted pre-approval well in advance of her moving date.

The process for Jackie took a bit longer. Jackie didn’t have funding in her NDIS plan for a Support Coordinator or to complete the appropriate assessments needed for the SIL application. Northcott Service Coordinator Vicki Smyth, with the help of a Support Coordinator, completed a Change of Circumstances form expressing Jackie’s interest in exploring different housing options. Jackie’s plan was reviewed and updated to include Support Coordination.

With this funding Jackie was able to work with Northcott Support Coordinator Jo Vakaahi, who made the process for applying for SIL funding quicker and easier. Jo gathered all the necessary information and evidence and submitted Jackie’s application. Within a few weeks, the SIL application was approved.

After this journey, and with the support of Northcott Taree’s Support Coordination Team – who arranged removalists, end of lease clean-ups and disposal of unwanted furniture – Jackie and Emma’s big day finally arrived. The pair moved into their new home on 16 March 2020.

“That first day I felt like running around the house shouting ‘hooray!’… [I was] very excited and relieved,” says Jackie.

The friends enjoy doing projects together; they have worked on planting and gardening and jointly created a painting to hang on the wall. When asked about how they are coping with household chores, Emma and Jackie agree that sometimes there are some arguments, but they are working through it and getting there.

The pair has some big projects for the future too, including a housewarming party as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. They also want to create a family photo wall, invite their neighbours for afternoon tea and host a dinner party.

With one room still vacant in the house, Jackie and Emma are also looking forward to welcoming a new housemate!

Related content

Are you keen to explore disability housing options in your area? Check out Northcott’s disability housing vacancies.

Check out Deanna and Christell’s journey to living independently.


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