I  refer to two letters in the Age Wednesday 19 November, one from Eric
Emerson, Professor of Clinical Psychology  and the other from Karen
Hitchen, with regard to the intellectually disabled.

Prof Emerson seems to think that "moving people into the community with
appropriate support" is the only way  to cope with the issue of
accommodating the intellectually disabled and he further advises that
international research shows that  "cluster housing" is bad for them. He
takes Kennneth Davidson to task for commenting on the fact, that,  the
current 27 hectares of land known as the Kew Cottages Site is suitable for
providing  a choice of housing/care initiatives for people with
intellectual disabilities.

Can I ask Prof Emerson where is the international research that shows that
"cluster housing" is bad for the intellectually disabled? My research makes
it clear that in the US and the UK  there is a move away from  only
Community Residential Units, (CRU's)  back to a choice,  of Community
Residential Units, Cluster and Village style accommodation.

Given that "not one glove fits all", the Kew Cottages site can be upgraded
to  a Centre of Excellence and have a choice of housing initiatives for
people that are not coping living within the community in a CRU. The site
could be set up with stand alone accommodation, cluster and village style
accommodation with the support and care that many  intellectually disabled
people require. Plus a range of another initiatives so badly needed in this
state for the intellectually disabled: respite care, training for carers,
research facilities, medical and dental facilities not to mention a safe
recreational area to live in.

I should also remind Dr Emerson that there are currently 450 residents at
Kew Cottages who believe that the site is their home

No one has ever said that the intellectually disabled are second class
citizens and no one would deem to even think that  anyone in this day and
age should live in and 'institution". Those days are long gone. Whilst many
intellectually disabled do live in the community with "happy endings" there
are equally as many "unhappy endings".

There are over 3000 people on the waiting list for accommodation and 1000
of them are on the urgent list for government care and accommodation in the
State of Victoria. The waiting time on the "urgent" list for accommodation
is approximately 140 weeks and only 1 in 10 people will receive government
assistance within the next 5 years. It is little wonder that  Karen Hitchen
of Brunswick   feels despair at the closure and sale of Kew Cottages.

The Kew Cottages site is a prime site for a Centre of Excellence for the
Intellectually Disabled, but whilst the current government is intent on
bulldozing it, there would seem to be little hope for those on the waiting
list for care and accommodation.

Elizabeth Bentley
2/27 Pakington Street
Kew Victoria

TEL: 0418 356 441

Member of the Kew Cottages Coalition