RASAID Rally in 2009

RASAID stands for Ryde Area Supported Accommodation for Intellectually Disabled.

RASAID is 14 families whose goal is to attain supported accommodation for their disabled family members.

The RASAID parents are now aged between late 50s to late 70s, with our oldest mother having passed away in 2012 aged in her 90s. Our disabled sons and daughters range in age from early 30s to late 50s and their disabilities are across the spectrum. We have supported each other in our caring roles for decades and our adult children have grown up together. They have attended the same school, day program, work placement or social groups together. We have between us more than 600 years of experience caring for a person with an intellectual disability.

Our families banded together in 2004 to fight for the construction of cluster housing in the Ryde district that would provide our (then) 25-50 year old children with suitable supported accommodation nearby.

As we are ageing, we are finding it more difficult to continue caring for our loved ones. We want to help transition our people from home into suitable supported accommodation in an orderly fashion before we die. We don't want to relinquish them to the state in a crisis situation. The present crisis-driven method of allocating supported accommodation is inhumane. Many families in the group are at or near crisis now. Two of our original members have died and another has been forced to relinquish care of their family member.

After lobbying all levels of government for over 7 years, the incoming Liberal NSW State government agreed in 2010 to support our model of supported accommodation as a pilot in which a cohesive group of intellectually disabled people live together in a housing setting within the local community they know. The State government’s funding commitment has also been supported by significant funding from the Federal Labor government. In this day of Australians preparing for the National Disability Insurance Scheme we are pleased to have bipartisan support for our model.

A key feature about RASAID is the philosophy of families being committed to a local, appropriate and responsive accommodation model that will meet the needs of our adult children, allowing a high level of family governance and community involvement.

Now that the building is complete the residents are preparing to transition into their new homes. We will be posting progress reports as they settle into their lives as independent adults.