One of the most important factors when considering a new SDA property is location. Remember, it’s not just the house or apartment that you need, you also need the right community and environment. There is a lot to consider about the location to make sure the SDA property is the right one for you.
I strongly recommend doing your research and explore the surroundings of the SDA property you are interested in. By this I mean: Go to the area, wander around and check it out yourself – rather than relying on google maps like I did. While google maps is great, it will never give you the full story of a location.
Once you do visit the area, you can find all the great aspects of it. My apartment, for example, is very close to a shopping centre, which makes grocery shopping a breeze. Speaking of breezes, I also live close to the river and the fresh air in that area makes you feel like you’re in the country, despite being only a few kilometres from the CBD.
Visiting the area may also highlight the downsides. I am in a wheelchair, so it’s vital that I have level and wide footpaths to easily navigate my way around. When I moved into my SDA apartment, I found that the local footpaths weren’t necessarily great. Something I should have investigated and taken into consideration.
Public transportation is also a must. While SDA properties are required to be in close proximity to at least one form of public transport, it may not necessarily be the type you like to use or need the most. I use a particular train line a lot to go between places I visit regularly, but my apartment is a distance from this line. There is a tram nearby that connects to it, but it does add half an hour onto my commute. I’ve had to compromise on this, as I still get to where I need to go, but it isn’t as efficient as it could be if I had an apartment closer to my regular train line.
Safety is another key factor you must consider about the location of a property. Is crime an issue in the area and how well lit is it at night? Can you feel safe? There’s an alleyway I have to navigate in order to get from the closest public transport to my apartment. It’s not well lit at night and there’s been a few times I’ve held my breath as I’ve raced along it after sundown.
Don’t forget that location is a major character in the story of an SDA property. The location needs to be safe, convenient and easy to maneuver around for you to be happy in your environment.
Belinda has worked as a Lived Experience Facilitator in the Summer Foundation's Housing Hub Team since June 2020. She brings the experience of navigating her own housing journey which sees her now living in an SDA apartment. Belinda has a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University.
Belinda is passionate about people with disability having a voice and a say in their own housing journey, which will lead them to have the best support, choice and flexibility in how they live.
Belinda is also the SDA Tenants' Reference Group Lead. Learn more about the group here.
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After acquiring a brain injury Will's close-knit family worked tirelessly to get Will home to his own apartment. "He's 27, like he's not meant to be in a nursing home."