Cati was born in Argentina with a learning disability and poor sight, and moved over to England to join her mother in her mid-twenties. After settling into a new country, Cati found she wanted her own space away from her mother, so they began looking for opportunities for Cati to live away from home. Cati moved into social housing with other housemates, but soon found the experience was not what she expected. Those she lived with would feed her guide dog scraps without her consent, and the local neighbours bullied Cati as she walked down the street. Lala, Cati’s mother, spent years looking for somewhere nicer for Cati to move into with no success.
Through a chance encounter with an Advance employee, Lala and Cati heard of Advance’s shared ownership scheme. Shared ownership allows Advance customers to buy a share of their home’s value, and pay rent on the remaining part. Cati and her mum were delighted to hear that with some support from Advance, there was an opportunity for Cati to own her own home. “I’d never heard of it before, but I knew it was perfect for Cati” Lala says. Within just a few months Cati had found a house she loved, and her and her guide dog moved in!
Advance staff tried to make the process as easy as possible for Cati. “It’s a complicated process, but the staff at Advance explained everything and made it so easy for us”, says Lala. Cati’s new neighbours were wonderful from day one, mowing her lawn for her and taking her rubbish out every week. “I like it because I don’t depend on anybody now” says Cati, “Having a guide dog is also easier now I live by myself”.
Cati now has the freedom and space to live the life she chooses. She goes to the gym with her friend Caz, who also gives her English lessons and helps with her IT skills. Cati also has the time to go on holiday with her Mum; they’ve been to both Portugal together, and to Argentina to visit their family. It’s now Cati’s dream to go on to learn to play the piano. “I would like to learn piano because I like music”, she says, something she hopes Advance can support her with in the future.
“My future now looks happy, comfortable and independent” she believes. Her Mum echoes this by saying “It’s a relief to know she’s happy and secure, if I wasn’t around I know she’ll be OK as she has her own home for the rest of her life”. Advance’s shared ownership scheme has made Cati’s life more secure, adding to her independence. “I would’ve had to wait years for a house. Now I have my own house and I’m very grateful to Advance!”
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