It’s about much more than housing

With a beautiful handbag collection and a repertoire of jokes, 87-year-old Valma is a testament to tenacity. Having been told she wouldn’t walk again multiple times; Valma has proven the naysayers wrong time and time again.

As one of the longest standing Housing Choices SA residents, Valma has called the same maisonette cottage home for more than 27 years. Following the passing of her husband, for the last 26 years she has lived there alone.

Considering Valma lives with cerebral palsy, this is an incredible achievement; one that’s only been possible in the past year thanks to the care and support of Housing Choices SA’s Coordinator Tenant Support, Lincoln.

When housing officers meet residents who need assistance in their homes, residents can approach Lincoln, who can step in and act as an advocate for resident services or supports.

In Valma’s case, Lincoln has been able to secure the support Valma needs to remain independent. This has ranged from reconnecting her phone service (vital for Valma’s taxi bookings and emergency alert system) through to more involved activities, such as obtaining a suitable home care package when her previous arrangement was cancelled.

“I helped her advocate for a new home care package, which was recently assigned. It took time to build trust with Valma so she was comfortable signing for the new package,” Lincoln said.

“Valma has a remarkable and one-of-a-kind lived experience and great story, as well as some hilarious jokes.”

Without the home care package, which provides cleaning, personal care, transport and gardening services, there was every chance Valma would not be able to stay in her much-loved home.

But what really makes Valma smile, is the little things. Taking a taxi to Central Market to shop, buying a new coat in the local Salvos, and the simple kindness of her new home care support workers.

“When the home care lady finishes up cleaning, she always makes me a warm cup of coffee,” Valma said.