Sijan’s Story

image of a man entering a room in a wheelchair

“My doctor told me to get used to my chair because I would never walk again” These words were what Sijan recalled his doctor saying to him as he laid in the hospital bed. As an 18-year-old with his whole life still ahead of him, hearing this would have been harrowing but it didn’t stop Sijan prove his doctors wrong. If anything, it acted as his motivation.  

Almost 3 years on, Sijan defied all odds.  With determination, persistence and hard work, Sijan relentlessly exercised to reach his physio goals and is now walking up to 1 km by himself with his leg braces. The gym and pool amenities at his SDA apartment have been intrinsic to the physical development and improvement of Sijan. “I’m smashing all my physio goals with the use of the gym facilities at Parkhouse”.  

Life for Sijan before moving into his SDA home was extremely dismal. He had his accident and had no stable accommodation to reside in. He moved a total of 5 times over 1.5 years from hospital to aged care to motels and back again. At one point he was stuck in housing where people were doing drugs around him, “housing life was indescribable. I constantly felt he had no where to go. I was feeling pretty hopeless”. 

Through his case manager, Sijan’s life took a turn for the better when he found suitable and secure housing. “It was a very long and complex process to go through and I was relieved, more than anything, when I finally found I got the correct planning outcome and could move into my new SDA apartment. When I first saw my apartment – it wasn’t happiness in the first instance but more of anxiousness. It may be stemming from my mental health issues or due to how unstable my accommodation was previously, but all I could think of was, why is this happening to me? It just felt too good to be true. To think this was actually built to let me live independently…honestly was too good to be true”. 

Moving into Parkhouse provided Sijan a whole new outlook on life.

“I even had a BBQ for my birthday with some friends the day before Melbourne went back into lockdown”. The Concierge provider has also been invaluable to Sijan’s independence and livelihood. “Knowing I’ll always have support when I need it…psychologically it’s really good for me”.  

Sijan has set long-term aspirations to be an advocate for other people with disabilities who are struggling to find appropriate housing. He credits his amazing advocate who helped him obtain the correct planning outcome for his own SDA journey. He now wants to help others like him achieve that dream too. “It’s a complicated process, so I want to help others who may slip through the cracks in the system”. His advice to others when applying for SDA –“You need to be tough. You need to be strong. It’s hard out there being disabled. It’s not made for you anymore once you get that disability…life just asks a lot more from you…so you have to compensate by being stronger”. 

Note: Image used is a stock photo to keep anonymity of tenant.

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