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Article courtesy of Unity Housing.

Thanks to their positive outlook and resilience, Rowan and David are thrilled to have a rewarding job and a place to call home where they can be themselves.

When an opportunity arose for Bedford employee Rowan to find a housemate at his Daw Park home, he already knew he wanted it to be his colleague Dave.

“I moved into this house 10 years ago when it was first built,” Rowan says. “I wanted more independence so I came here. I had six months on my own here then I picked someone who I wanted to move in.”

Rowan and Dave had known each other for years, having worked previously together in Bedford’s cleaning department.

“We got along really well and we got to know each other quite a bit so when Rowan heard about me looking for somewhere suitable for my disability, he actually asked for me to share with him,” Dave says.

“That’s what I was happy with,” Rowan smiles.

Rowan and Dave met a couple of times with Bedford staff and decided to become housemates. The three-bedroom spacious home, which is owned by Bedford and managed by Unity Housing, enables Rowan and Dave to live independently and enjoy their hobbies while also receiving weekly individual and tailored support. While both men live with disabilities and share common ground, their stories are unique.

Rowan was born with Trisomy 8 mosaicism syndrome (T8mS) – a chromosome disorder that can affect learning and intellectual capacity. His support worker assists him with cleaning, shopping and cooking, which he thoroughly enjoys.

“I get to do all my own things here,” Rowan says. “I like cooking and my support worker helps with that. I like making pasta and using the slow cooker. I feel like I’m independent and can do my own stuff. I like being sociable and going out to the cinema and to the football with my Mum and Dad.”

When David was six-years-old, he fell 50 feet down a mine shaft head first which damaged his brain and caused vision impairment, physical disability, epilepsy and mental health challenges.

“I spent two months in hospital and learnt how to read and write all over again,” David says. “It’s been an enjoyable journey but it’s been a challenge. My mental health has really been challenging. It’s given me an understanding of other people who have the same thing. You really don’t understand it until you go through it yourself. I often say to people, ‘Well I’m still here, talking and walking.’

Before COVID, I did my first City-Bay Fun Run. I changed all my diet and lost nearly 10 kilos. I was at the very back of the field but I had my support worker beside me to give me confidence. It felt good and I did that lovely walk and it was a lot of fun. I came from the back of the field and was quite a distance from the rest of the group then got to Anzac Highway and caught up to them.”

The pair's busy and fulfilling lives are a testament to their determination and desire to make every day count and seize opportunities.

“On the very odd occasion we do things together but we are both quite busy,” David says. “Rowan asks me every day, ‘How are you going? Did you have a good day today Dave?’ We have our squabbles but who doesn’t? I’ve really enjoyed living here.”

Unity Housing has provided accommodation management services to Bedford residents since 2017 - a partnership that gives our clients a sense of security and freedom to live independently.