7 December, 2023
Independence days for Daniel
FOR the first time in his life, Mareeba man Daniel Donahue is living completely independently in his custom-built MiHaven house.
Daniel was born with cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that affects his ability to move, leaving him wheelchair-bound.
He has never had the opportunity to live on his own, but when his support workers at FlexiChoice Mareeba told him about the new MiHaven houses being built on Seary Road, he immediately put his hand up to live there.
FlexiChoice and MiHaven partnered up last year to bring the housing project to the Tablelands and surrounding areas to alleviate housing pressures for hundreds of individuals with high physical support needs.
Living with his siblings all his life, Daniel said moving out was a big step, and he was proud of his decision.
“It has been really good for me to have my own space finally,” he said.
“My sister used to do everything for me since I was born. She left school when she was 17 to look after me and my siblings, so she got very emotional when I moved out.”
Since moving into the house three months ago, Daniel has learned to cook, clean, and “chill out” independently.
The house is custom-built for wheelchair users, with large open spaces, lowered kitchen countertops, ovens and dishwashers that are specifically designed, and a “roll-in” closet.
Living independently has given Daniel a new sense of confidence in himself, putting himself out there to do the things he has always wanted to do.
“Finally, I get to do what I want to do and chill out every day, and I can do it all by myself,” he said.
“I have already made a pork roast in my oven, and I am going to learn to cook more.”
For his support worker Ashley Blain, supporting Daniel in his new home is something he is enjoying more and more every day.
With more space to help him learn, grow and kick goals, he said he would recommend the houses to anyone with high physical support needs.
“Everywhere is wheelchair accessible, and practically everything is built to the participant's needs, so it makes it very easy for them to live a normal life,”Ashley said.
“It is a very proud moment to see Daniel start getting where he dreamed of being because I know it has been something he has wanted to do for years now.”
MiHaven director Sarah Mort said she was pleased to see the houses taking off in Mareeba and the Tablelands and watching NDIS participants flourish while living in them.
“Many of the stories of our tenants and prospective tenants are heartbreaking,” she said.
“Witnessing the emotional transformation of individuals who have long been under the care of hospitals, aged care facilities, or their families – who may no longer be able to provide 24/7 care and specialised equipment – is profoundly moving.
“Making such a positive contribution to this sector is tremendously motivating. Of my 30-plus years of working in construction and property development, launching MiHaven Care has been the most rewarding of my career.”
There are currently 10 rooms in Mareeba and four in Atherton available for NDIS participants. For more information, contact Laurie Armstrong at MiHaven Care on 0497 308 238 or email email@example.com