Gayle's story

Gayle's story has recently been featured on the Down's Syndrome Association website talking about shared ownership and what it means for her.

Gayle is in her 30s and lives in her own home that she shares with two other people, close to her parents.

After finishing at her local comprehensive school's special education unit, Gayle went on to college part-time to learn independent living skills. She has two brothers, one younger and one older. When they left home for their further education her parents Ian and Mary worried that she was getting a bit bored, being at home just with just them. They started to think in earnest about her next step and a possible long-term living solution that would suit them all.

In 2001 they came across Advance Housing. After chatting to the team, they realised there was a possibility, through the HOLD (home ownership for people with long term disabilities) scheme, that Gayle could part-own her own home.

In 2002 a four bedroom house close to where her parents lived was identified as a suitable purchase. Two other families were also interested in this option and the families, Advance and the support team worked together to move the three shared owners into their new home in January 2003 where they receive 24/7 support.

Gayle helped to choose how her room was decorated and her independent living skills blossomed when she moved into the house. She also enjoyed volunteering at the local college for a number of years. Gayle meets her Mum for tea on a Friday and comes each week to their house for Sunday lunch. They go on holiday each year and she also visits her brothers in London.

In 2006 one of the shared owner’s circumstances changed and he had to leave the property so a replacement shared owner was found. Again Advance was heavily involved in assisting all parties in this change of part ownership of the property.

There have been a few concerns over the years, including dealing with changes to benefits and Support for Mortgage Interest, but the three families have supported each other to resolve any issues and they have also had support from Advance Housing.

The fact that Gayle part owns her own home has brought Gayle’s parents peace of mind. They know she is settled, happy and living as independently as possible in a home that is hers for the long-term. The support of Advance Housing, the other partner in the shared ownership agreement, will also mean the the property is maintained over time too.