Ausnew Home Care | Merriwa Grove residents find new homes ahead of northern Victoria disability carer's closure

Merriwa Grove residents find new homes ahead of northern Victoria disability carer's closure

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Judi Burke and her adult son Kris, who lives with a mental illness, have been waiting over a month to find out where his new home will be.

Kris was one of 19 residents living at Cobram residential disability facility Merriwa Grove in northern Victoria when it was announced in early June that it would close because it was no longer viable. 

With the facility officially closing at the end of this month, NDIS provider Social Plus Support Work (SPSW) has managed to lease three homes long-term in Yarrawonga for nine of Merriwa's residents, including Kris. 

Ms Bruke said it was great to see something had been done for her son and some of the other residents.

"They are fully furnished [homes], brand new beds, washing machines, linen, sheets, couches, TV," she said.

"It doesn’t get any better than that."'

'Nothing worse' than the unknown

Ms Burke said that while it was a great relief to find a new home for her son, it was very sad to see Merriwa Grove fall by the wayside.

She said it had provided a real sense of community to the residents.

"We really wanted Merriwa to stay open," Ms Burke said.

"There's nothing worse than not knowing what's going to happen.

"Every parent who gets older who has got a son with a disability, or a daughter with a disability, you want the best for them. You want to know they're going to be cared for when you're gone."

A man with brown hair and a goatee wears a black tshirt and smiles.
Judi Burke said it was crucial Kris had some say on where he was going to move to.()

Ms Burke said it was crucial that Kris had some say on where he was going to move.

She said everything came together well when they visited one of the Yarrawonga homes last week.

"I could see after I saw the place [that] there was a positivity about him," Ms Burke said. 

Options for other residents

An official opening event for the Yarrawonga homes took place on Thursday with residents and family members given a tour through the houses.

SPSW chief executive Michael Thompson said three men would be moving into one of the homes this week while the other six would be relocated next week.

He said other accommodation options had been secured for the rest of Merriwa's residents, including at other SRS [supported residential service] facilities.

"Some gentlemen have actually relocated to aged care," Mr Thompson said.

"A couple people have relocated closer to family down at Bendigo and up at Coffs Harbour way."

A front facing picture of a house
Michael Thompson says Merriwa residents will be moving into the Yarrawonga homes over the next week.()

Mr Thompson said the homes had been set up in just a week and half's time for the nine Merriwa Grove residents.

He said it was crucial that they felt comfortable in their new homes.

"Our goal as an organisation is to maintain their sense of community," Mr Thompson said.

"They're able to do large group activities … so they can maintain those relationships."

Mr Thompson said SPSW had also spoken with the families about the importance of maintaining a connection to the Cobram community and all the crucial individuals residents visit, such as GPs and pharmacists. 

He said the families' response to the move had been very positive. 

"They are just grateful to know their loved one, whether it be a son or a brother or an uncle, are in a place that they've got a roof over their head," Mr Thompson said.


Source: ABC

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