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On 7 March 2017, Tessa Bolt made history as the first known person with Down’s syndrome to give oral evidence to a parliamentary committee.
GLH tenant, Tessa gave evidence about supported housing to the joint Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government Select Committee who were assessing the Government’s plans to overhaul the supported housing sector.
When the Government announced its proposed plans to localise funding for supported housing in September 2016, Mencap and other charities voiced concerns this could lead to a postcode lottery, worsening the housing crisis already facing many people with a learning disability.
Tessa Bolt’s evidence was a landmark moment for people with Down’s syndrome, ensuring their voices and concerns are central to decision making processes that affect them. Tessa lives in supported housing with two housemates who also have a learning disability.
“I am really looking forward to giving evidence to The Parliamentary Committee. I love politics and have met with my MP and been to lobby’s so it’s really exciting to know that I’ll be the first person with Down’s syndrome to give evidence to a parliamentary committee. It’s great knowing that I am going be a part of history and I hope more people with a learning disability give evidence in the future.
Supported housing is something that I am really passionate about and I am really happy that the committee will get to hear about it from someone who has a learning disability and uses supported housing. I love my home, I have really lovely housemates and have learnt so many new skills since moving. Supported housing gives me security and it lets me be independent, something everyone with a learning disability should have.”
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