Media Release: June 2014
Evolve Housing, in conjunction with our project partner Northcott, on Wednesday June 11th at 10.30am will officially open a new, state-of-art $2.3 million housing complex in Western Sydney, supporting people with disability lead independent lives.
The housing complex, situated in North Parramatta is named “Merv Wright House”, in honour of the late Merv Wright, a primary school principal and a former Holroyd Citizen of the Year, who was a tireless campaigner for people with disabilities across the region.
Mr Wright, who passed away in February this year, achieved many milestones, including helping organise the FESPIC Games at Merrylands in 1977 for people with disability from 16 nations across the Asia Pacific compete in organised sport for the first time; assisting people with intellectual and physical disabilities play lawn bowls at Wenty Leagues Club, forming a rugby league team for young people with challenging behaviour and his work as a long-standing community representative on Holroyd Council’s Disability Services Advisory Committee.
“It is a befitting tribute that this unique disability housing complex is named after Merv Wright,” Evolve Housing Chief Executive Officer, Andrea Galloway, said today.
“Mr Wright devoted his life to creating opportunities for people with disability, which is what this person centred housing development will give to tenants by meeting the strict Platinum Livable Housing design guidelines, whilst providing a disability support system that maximises opportunities for independence and participation in the economic, social and cultural life of the local community.”
Andy Waite is one of the new tenants at Merv Wright House, living independently for the first time, in his own apartment in the housing complex.
“Mum and Dad’s house wasn’t wheelchair accessible and I couldn’t open the front gate on my own. I felt like a burden on my parents but never thought I’d be able to live on my own because there was nowhere to go,” Andy, 27, explained.
“Here I am able to do pretty much everything on my own and I won’t have to rely on my parents. I will be able to have friends here, cook my own meals and not have to slot my day around my parents.”
Northcott Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Stubbs, said the model of support Northcott offers tenants is a first for disability accommodation, with its user-friendly design enhancing their quality of life and giving them the chance to live independently as a single or with people of their choosing.
“This innovative Accommodation Complex offers people with disabilities access to a mixture of formal and informal collaborative supports provided by Northcott and Evolve Housing” Ms Stubbs said.
“There is a three bedroom affordable housing unit on the lower level that tenants from the community will live in and will provide informal care to people like Andy. We know there is a shortage of affordable, accessible and innovative accommodation options for people with disabilities and developments like this are a vital part of filling that service gap.
“This development will give tenants the opportunity to get more involved in the community and live the lives they choose. We are all very proud of this development and are thrilled to name it in honour of a man as inspirational as Merv Wright.”
The housing complex funded under the Federal Government’s Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund (SAIF) was the first to be awarded Platinum Performance Level compliance. It has also been recognised by the NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards for its innovative design and support system inclusions.
The Federal Minister for Human Services, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon John Ajaka MLC, will join other Federal and State MPs, tenants, their families as well as the family and friends of Mr Wright, along with disability housing sector stakeholders and community leaders at the official opening.
About Evolve Housing
Evolve Housing is a Class 1 registered community housing provider that owns and manages 3,700 properties in Australia that are home to over 9,500 people who were homeless or in housing stress. Partnering within the housing sector, Evolve Housing works to deliver person centred and sustainable housing to areas of high need such as the disability sector, affordable housing and social housing.
Northcott is a not-for-profit disability service provider which supports more than 13,000 children and adults living with disabilities, their families and carers across NSW and the ACT.
Opening Event Media Contacts
Evolve Housing: Richard Lenarduzzi 0411 254 390
Northcott: Ryan Young 0408 659779