Housing and flatmates for people with learning disabilities

My name is Stuart. I have a learning disability. I have my own tenancy in a house I live in with two other housemates. We get 24-hour support.

A room in our house became available earlier this year and we wanted to choose another housemate to live with us.

The manager and support workers helped us plan a profile of the kind of person we would like to have as a housemate. We were given some support to decide the things that were important to us.

Our home is more than just a place to live. We wanted a housemate who would respect our privacy and take their turn in cooking meals and doing chores! We wanted a housemate who enjoyed going out and doing the same things. We didn’t want a person who bullied, swore or spat as we know this isn’t right and it’s important to feel safe in your own home.

Once the profile was ready it was sent to social services. The manager came back and told us that Damon could be a potential housemate.

Damon came to visit for coffee so we could get to know him. When he had gone we discussed how we felt about Damon and if we would like him to visit again.

Soon, Damon did come on another visit. This time his support worker left so Damon could relax and feel at home. Then Damon had a weekend visit which went well. We are now looking forward to Damon moving in as we feel we have made the right choice about the person we want to live with.

Our advice to others who are looking for housemates would be to work with your support workers and talk about the things that are important to you in choosing a housemate. This will help everyone to make the right decisions about who you share your home with. And the same could be done with other big decisions that affect your life.

This article appeared in the 13 September issue under the headline “‘The choice was mine’

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