life in a safe, inclusive community and the spaciousness of his Teilhaus home
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Evergreen
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Tell us a little about yourself.

My name's Cam. In the last 25 years of my life I've lived in intentional communities, alongside people with and without intellectual disability. I am a disability support worker and I really love my work. It's not the most glamorous role in the world and it's not the most highly paid, so the idea of owning a place was something that seemed very out of reach for me. But home is really important to me.

I exist in lots of interesting different circles. I'm a gay fella. I also practise a thing called spiritual direction where I support people in their spiritual journeys. I'm a practising Catholic. I like reading poetry.

How did you come to live at Nightingale Evergreen?

I heard about Nightingale through friends living in Nightingale 2. I went to an information session for Nightingale Wurru wurru biik, and I was blown away by Nightingale’s values. They're not just talking points; there is a real embedded commitment to sustainability, to community, to justice, to equity as well. Going to that session really convinced me that this was something I was really keen on.

I was unsuccessful in the ballot for that project. Then later a Nightingale team member contacted me about a Teilhaus that had become available at The Village, asking if I’d be interested in going in the ballot.* I said yes, and because I work in disability, I could go into the priority ballot. Then [Nightingale CEO] Dan rang me one morning and said, ‘Congratulations’. I was successful. I felt like I'd won the lottery. 

What appealed to you about the Nightingale approach?

The community part is really important to me. 

Another thing that was really important about this space was that friends of mine who use wheelchairs would be able to access it - and they can. There's even an accessible toilet downstairs, which makes me really happy.

I really like that the Teilhauses are subsidised by the bigger apartments, and that everyone knows that. So there's a generosity there.

What has been your experience of moving into your apartment and creating community here? 

I'm going to cry. It's just been amazing. I have a home. Every time I walk in the door my heart sings. 

I feel really safe. There are other LGBTIQA+ folk in the building. I'm a big white cis bloke, admittedly, but to feel really culturally safe as a gay man has been incredible. 

I know everyone on my floor, and lots of people in the building. I have community housing neighbours on either side of me and they are awesome women. I've become mates with some neighbours who have a couple of young kids, and when I had COVID recently they brought me an amazing veggie soup. 

In social housing, when you shove a bunch of people together who experience disadvantage - it's a segregated model. Whereas here, what happens is you get people from lots of different backgrounds working together. We need each other. It's an ecosystem, and the thing about ecosystems that makes them strong is diversity. I've seen what happens when people are really different but with a shared project, and it's phenomenal. It's world-changing stuff. 

What do you think of the design of your home?

The level of quality feels really honouring of the person who is living here. It's all the really little things, like the fixtures. The brass is so beautiful, it's ageing really well. I like the colours of the tiles in the bathroom. I love that when you walk into the building it feels like everything's been thought of. 

The laundry is one of my favourite places. It's so beautiful, with that round window. Again, it's an honouring of the ordinary stuff. Just having that moment, when you're waiting for your washing to finish and you gaze out that window - it's a moment to take a breath, to be present. And then the world is better because of that - because I'm better, because of that. I know that's a bit wacky.

The other thing that I thought was awesome is that there is no difference between my home and my neighbours’ in community housing. They have exactly the same fit-out. 

How are you finding the induction cooktop?

It has been a revelation. I love cooking. At work, when I've been using gas, I'm thinking, ‘Oh, it's just not as good as my induction.’ 

I've had six people here for dinner. Easy as. We all fit in the room. I got a folding table, used a couple of folding chairs. It was a really nice night.

What has been surprising about your new home?

How spacious the Teilhaus feels. As soon as I walked in, I just felt so happy. It doesn't feel like a small space. It has great light and air flow and doesn't feel stuffy. It has high ceilings. I thought being on a lower level and being south-facing, one of the trade-offs would be that it would be a bit dark - and it's not.

Another thing that's surprising is that I don't need to turn the heating on. And also how amazing the soundproofing is. You don't hear anything.


*Occasionally people withdraw from purchasing their homes due to unanticipated circumstances, and apartments become available. In these cases we might hold an additional ballot. Learn more about the purchasing process.

First published in
July 2023