During 1980/1981 a needs assessment undertaken by the social worker and committee members of APD, confirmed that a need existed in Limpopo for affordable housing for adult persons with physical disabilities.
At that stage, no such housing existed in the province and application for a subsidy was submitted to the Department of Health and Welfare during 1981 and approved in 1986. Due to the availability of other vitally important support services it was decided to build the house in Polokwane. The House was formally opened on the 1st October 1988 and takes in residents from anywhere in the Limpopo as well as from all cultural groups.
As the house is still the only such accommodation in Limpopo, funds received from the NLDTF was used to add on a double room (4 residents each) at two of the houses. This increased the number of residents from 44 to 54, with a waiting list of approximately 25. Originally the house was planned for persons with physical disabilities, but the need and demand for accommodation providing supervised care to persons with mental disabilities called for their admittance as well.
Although we encourage persons with physical and/or mental disability stay in the community, and make use of community based treatment, there is a group of persons with physical and/or mental disability who can’t function successfully without fulltime support. Factors like the ability to handle money, mental and psychological limitations, physical dependency and a lack of and/or inadequate support from relatives or other people in the community - who also don’t have the facilities, knowledge or financial means to give specialized attention/care - cannot be avoided.
This puts emphasis for admittance to the house not so much on the accommodation, but whether the applicant needs specialized care and rehabilitation. Preference is also given to persons in the sub-economic group.
One of the admission policies is to not admit persons older than 55 years of age, but, once admitted, residents can stay on as long as needed, even if they exceed the maximum age limit for admittance. As a result, care and nursing services have been increased and will have to be upgraded even more in future to enable the house to provide in the increased and intensified needs of the residents as they grow older. This will automatically make our service delivery more expensive because of the extra care staff that will be required. One of the houses has been changed into a “high care unit”, which enables us to care for those who need fulltime care.
Current residents were admitted on a permanent basis but the Screening Committee decided that the admittance of someone on a temporary basis will also be considered should be need arise.
In 2009 APD Limpopo saw the need for affordable independent living facilities for persons with physical disabilities employed in the open labour market.
One of the existing buildings on the same premises as Centenary House was converted into 5 separate accessible independent living quarters with acommunal kitchen, and named House Christa.
Residents are responsible for taking care of themselves. Centenary House provide services to the residents of the house like laundry, medical assistance and meals from the kitchen at an additional cost.
To qualify for this accommodation the person must have a physical disability, be able to look after him/herself and be employed in the open labour market.