Mat’s ILO Story

My name is Mat, I am 35 years old, and I live in my own place, in Perth Western Australia.

Image description: Mat doing a cheers at home

“I love living in my own place as I get to live how I want, just like everyone else!”

My name is Mat, I am 35 years old, and I live in my own place, in Perth Western Australia. I love to go out to concerts and guitar lessons, the gym, and love to play and watch footy. I work part-time and have a microenterprise. Support workers support me to live independently in my own home and in my community. I love living in my own place as I get to live how I want, just like everyone else!

My family are a big part of my support networks and here they talk about our journey into ILO.

“Mat’s and our journey into individualised living arrangements, and now ILO, started about 14 years ago. At that time, Western Australia disability services were exploring innovative housing and living arrangements which included people with disability having a good life and living in their own home. We knew that we wanted Mat to live as independently as possible in the future and set about working on this with our local disability services.

We placed Mat’s name on the Department of Housing waitlist knowing that it could take a long while before he was allocated a house. This gave us time to explore with Mat what he wanted in his life and what was important to him.

Mat has been central to all decision-making around his life. We used supported decision-making processes to ensure his voice and needs were at the forefront of all exploration and planning around living independently. This process included exploring what living in his own home could look like, which supports would meet his needs best and what these could look like, considerations and planning around his personal safety, as well as some of the independent living skills he needed to work on. This exploration process took time, and we have continued using supported decision making as Mat’s individualised living arrangement has changed over time.

Following this exploration, we approached a small service provider who had experience in setting up alternative living arrangements. Mat moved into a home-share arrangement for a period of time and this arrangement provided live-in supports while continuing to build Mat’s independence. Over time though, Mat decided that he would like to try living on his own.

Not long after that Mat was allocated a house through the Department of Housing and together, we set about supporting Mat to set up his home as he wanted it, sorting any necessary safeguards and enlisting the team of supports that would support Mat to live independently in his community.

Moving into his own place provided new opportunities and challenges for Mat but it has been wonderful to see how he has worked through these and how his independence has grown over time.

An Individualised Living Arrangement model is what makes Mat’s living arrangement work for him. This model encompasses all aspects of a person’s life and enables the person to live in their own home and enjoy their own normal evolving life. The person has their own team of people and supports chosen by them. Family remains involved and included in all big lifestyle decisions.

The model comprises of a Network Advisor, Network Facilitator, Support Workers, and an additional range of supports, all working together in a holistic way. The key role within this model is that of Network Advisor. The Network Advisor knows Mat very well, meets with him in person over time to clarify his needs, goals and wishes. They manage the support workers team overall, recruit support staff, and manage all additional invoiced supports. They also provide regular monitoring to ensure all the components in Mat’s life, such as work, health and community access along with his support team are all working well and collaboratively. Network advisors are working in a holistic way – they manage their own organisation’s support staff as well as all the other components of the living arrangement to ensure the arrangement continues working well for Mat.

The Network Facilitator is the next component. They work directly with Mat, his home support team and the community. The Network Facilitator runs the support workers team, ongoing rostering and scheduling of supports, provides mentoring to support staff and supports Mat to research and develop ideas of what he’d like to do in the community. The Network Facilitator responds flexibly in consultation with the Network Advisor and family to address any issues as they arise. Overall, the Network Facilitator, under the direction of the Network Advisor, ensures that formal, informal, allied health and service providers in Mat’s life are working well together and working towards meeting his needs and goals.

Support Workers make up the next component. The support team is chosen by Mat; they have the qualities that Mat likes, and that he has chosen for doing specific tasks with. Mat’s team of support workers provide drop-in support and access to an on-call system to cover any emergencies.

Lastly, the model also utilises a range of invoiced supports, which can include a private cleaning company, meals delivery and preparation, yard maintenance, as well as any other community and domestic services required. These are the invoiced supports managed by the Network Advisor.

Overall, this model allows for choice and control as well as allowing support staff to be free to provide specific, targeted work and supports that Mat needs in order to live in his own home and community.

Mat has now been living in his own home for about 10 years. Developing and setting up this living arrangement has taken lots of time and energy from our family, over many years. Together we have spent time ensuring that Mat can continue to live in his own home, ensuring the right supports are available, strongly advocating for supports and his needs with the NDIS and managing funding.

Mat loves living in his own home and would not want to live any other way!

In conversation with Mat’s family, they recommended keeping the following in mind:

  • The exploration process takes time and will be ongoing over time. This process is important in ensuring that the person with disability’s voice and choice and control, remains at the centre of all planning and decision making. This requires deep-listening and identifying what the person needs to live their own life and in the community they choose, as well as the addressing the family’s concerns around safeguards and safety.
  • Start futures-planning as early as you can – it will take time to explore the various housing options, supports available, any safeguards that need to be considered, creative ways of setting up home and available funding. It will also guide some of the independence skills that the person will need to work on as they work towards moving into their own place.
  • If you are thinking about approaching a service provider to support the ILO arrangement you may want to ask them questions around what infrastructure they have for managing the ILO arrangement – how do they get to know the person, their support needs, and their vision for home? How do they work with the family or supporters? What systems are in place to support the success of the ILO over the long term?
  • Be aware and prepared that this process takes time, and that things will change – the person and their needs, the arrangement, the teams of supports, and systems such as the NDIS. Ask for help when you need to, as it can make everything easier.
  • ILO and ILA are about doing Disability Differently. The more people that follow the pathway towards these individualised living options and request these arrangements, the better the NDIS and service providers will understand the many ways that people with disability can be creatively supported to live in their own home succesfully. It is about building various and different ways of supporting a person in their home and their communities and dismantling any barriers that lead to a restricted life.

Need Support With ILO?

NACBO have dedicated staff available across Australia who can assist you through the various stages of this process.

Click ‘Get Support’ to find your nearest contact.

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