Resident story: Bobby

For more than a decade, mountain climber Bobby has been a Housing Choices resident. The father of two, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, credits his stable and affordable apartment for enabling him to take on some of the tallest summits on the globe.

“I’ve got two lives. I’ve got this superstar life where I’m one of the most extreme athletes in the world with a disability … and then I’ve got this life where I’m very, very unwell,” he said.

Before moving into his apartment in Melbourne’s CBD in 2011, Bobby was living at a men’s hostel.

In the temporary accommodation, Bobby was forced to climb stairs to get to his room every day, which was often not possible due to the nature of his disability.

“I slept in my (wheel)chair at the bottom because the lifts weren’t working and I can’t walk and I had my little daughter asleep in my lap,” he said.

“Being in an environment … in a boarding house with my little daughter, it was just the most frustrating, mentally damaging thing that you could go through.

“Some days I would pray I could use my legs or use my arms to push myself up the flights of stairs because it was a three-storey building with stairs.

“My life was dealing with my situation. That was what consumed my life.”

Annie, his 14-year-old daughter, said the move to the Housing Choices apartment had reduced the responsibility she had previously been forced to take on.

“I’m just really grateful that now we have a roof over our heads, and I don’t have to sleep in my dad’s lap,” Annie said.

“I’m happier to bring friends over because I don’t need them now to help take my dad upstairs.”

Bobby’s Housing Choices apartment has been modified to allow a wheelchair on days when the 56 year-old requires it.

Located opposite the famous fresh produce Queen Vic Market, close to shops, hospitals, transport, the gym and parks, the apartment makes it easy for Bobby to train for his mountain climbing and look after his health.

“It’s the best place to live for training because my gyms are in the city.”

In 2019, Bobby summitted Lobuche, a 6119m mountain in Nepal and in 2025 he aims to climb Everest.

“I’m excelling because of Housing Choices giving me the opportunity to have a stable home.  I can go out there and get sponsors, I can go out there and climb mountains, I can go out there and train, I can go out there and be sick – but I come back to home,” he said.

“And that’s what Housing Choices have given me, stability.”