Melbourne’s Glen Eira Villas officially opened

February 18, 2010 by Jonny Ucko
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Victorian Premier John Brumby has officially opened Glen Eira Villas, Jewish Care’s newest housing development for people with a disability.

Thirty years after leading the move towards deinstitutionalisation, Jewish Care once again leads the Victorian community in the provision of supported accommodation for people with a disability.   Jewish Care’s Glen Eira Villas is located on the same site on Glen Eira Road, where in 1979, it established Victoria’s first permanent supported accommodation for people with a disability.  Located in the heart of the Jewish community, the new development offers a unique blend of independent living, individualised support and community engagement.

Jewish Care will welcome the first residents to Glen Eira Villas next month.

Bruce Rosengarten, President of Jewish Care, explained “In responding to the urgent need for disability accommodation, we stepped outside the paradigms of current disability service models.” Mr Rosengarten said. “We researched best practice models worldwide, and we engaged in extensive community consultation with people with a disability, their carers and care providers.”

Premier Brumby strongly commended the community for its determination and commitment in building an inclusive community for all. He praised Jewish Care for its dedication to universal values.

“The Jewish values of family, kindness, respect and charity are ones which have helped shape the Victorian community,” Mr Brumby said.

“It is because our Jewish community itself has been part of Victoria for so long and because a strong ethic of care is so central to the Jewish tradition.”

Premier John Brumby and Rabbi Meir Shlomo Klugwant watch Naomi Milgrom attach the mezuzah

Premier Brumby applauded Jewish Care’s development as a model of innovation, leadership and inclusivity.

He said the Jewish community had long been a leader in helping shape the fabric of our society and that the Glen Eira Villas would provide many people with the respect everyone deserves.

“A person’s culture, their community, their faith and traditions are right at the heart of who that person is, which is why the Victorian Government is proud to support this development,” he said.

“The Jewish community has long been a leading example of compassion and kindness and the Glen Eira Villas will provide people with a much needed culturally appropriate respite and disability care service.”

In addressing the assembled guests, Mr Rosengarten also referred to the values of Jewish Care. “Glen Eira Villas speaks to all of our core values,” he said, “but most of all, it embodies the idea of tzedaka, understood not only as charity, but also and most importantly, as what is just, true and right.”

“It is just, true and right that people with disabilities should live with dignity,” he continued.

“It is just, true and right that people with disabilities should live in their own home, not a facility, where they have the same opportunities as anyone else to express themselves and make choices about their lifestyle. It is just, true and right that people with disabilities should have the same opportunities to be part of our community, living within our community and free to express and participate in our shared culture and traditions.”

“This project represents our vision of a world where every person, regardless of age or ability, has the freedom to create a meaningful life, make their own choices and pursue their own goals, a world which focuses on a person’s qualities, gifts and capabilities, rather than their challenges or limitations, a world where we are all enriched by our togetherness and our diversity.”

Mr Rosengarten added, “The centre of Glen Eira Villas’ visionary model of inclusivity is the beautiful communal hub; a recreation space designed for use by community, social, youth and sporting groups to hold activities and events. By encouraging the community to host their programs at Glen Eira Villas, residents can readily join in and be a part of enjoying and contributing to community life.”

Sharing the podium with the Premier was the project’s Patroness, Naomi Milgrom AO, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Sussan Corporation, expressed her inspiration and pride commenting, “Three years ago we were motivated by a model of inclusiveness – and today I am honoured to be the Patron of such a ground–breaking vision. Jewish Care’s leadership is an inspiration to our community.”

Acknowledging the government’s generous contribution of $400,000 towards the project’s building costs, Mr Rosengarten also thanked major community supporters for enabling this project to be realised.

The opening of Glen Eira Villas marks a significant milestone in the vision of a community network of support for people with a disability. Launched at Jewish Care’s 2006 Gala Dinner, $3 million has been raised towards the project’s construction costs, with an additional $1.5million still needing to be raised.

About Glen Eira Villas

Glen Eira Villas offers people a unique blend of independent living, individualised support and community engagement. Residents will be supported and included in social and community activities in which they are interested. It is a place where people with a disability can lead the life they want, enjoying their independence, knowing that support is available should they need it.

Comprised of four villas and 16 suites, Glen Eira Villas offers permanent homes for 16 adults. Sensitive design supports progressive levels of companionship with a variety of both private and communal spaces for residents to use as they wish.  In addition, a set of four custom-designed respite suites provides essential time out for carers and enables adults still living with their families to trial independent living. Up to 25 families every year will benefit from Glen Eira Villas’ respite support.

The opening of Glen Eira Villas nearly doubles the amount of accommodation Jewish Care currently provides for people with a disability. And as some of the new residents will be leaving other homes nearby to move into Glen Eira Villas, this will free up housing for other adults contemplating their first move from their family home. It is an innovative and timely response to the urgent need for housing for Jewish adults with a disability in Victoria.

Sustainable design

As with all new Jewish Care buildings, Glen Eira Villas features sustainable design which also benefits residents with reduced cost of living. Incorporating solar powered hot water, rain harvest tanks for grey water usage, roof, wall and window insulation and contemporary solar design principles, these initiatives dramatically reduce dependence on additional heating and cooling.

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