Leaving Allen Street

A celebration of independence, opportunity and choice.

The award winning We Are Yarn documentary shows the importance of providing safe and affordable living options for people with disability, where they get to choose how they live and who they live with.

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Leaving Allen Street Documentary

The award-winning documentary “Leaving Allen Street” follows the transition of 30 plus intellectually disabled participants from living in congregate care to community homes. The project was funded by the Victorian Government through DHHS from 2014-2017.   

It was the recipient of the Audience Choice Award at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in 2020 for its depiction of the positive outcomes that living in small groups in safe, affordable homes within a community setting has had on these participants.

“The themes of the film are around freedom, choices, opportunity, dignity, respect, love and family”, says co-director Katrina Channells.  “But ultimately, we were working with the OC Connections philosophy of supporting residents to make decisions about how they live their life. For us, that meant allowing them to be the agents of their own story and giving them space and time to communicate what they wanted.” Watch the trailer here

We Are Yarn was engaged to document the journey to promote the importance of providing independent living options and choice for people with disability that meets their needs and wants and sets the foundation towards leading a meaningful life.  They followed the lives of the participants throughout this time showing not only the angst, frustrations and challenges that a project like this brings, but also laughter, excitement and personal growth for all concerned. Find out about We Are Yarn here 

It is also a testament to what can be achieved when the Victorian Government, through DHHS, and disability providers collaborate in projects such as this. Find out more about our story here

OC Connections CEO, Therese Desmond says “There is a growing disparity in housing for people with disability in our community, and our organisation will be building on this experience to provide further independent living options for people with disability in both our immediate and nearby communities to meet this growing need. Leaving Allen Street will show people that providing community houses where people with disability can choose who they live with and how they live helps them develop confidence and a closer connection to the community in which they live.” If you want to donate to help us build suitable housing for people with disability, you can do so here

You can rent the documentary on Vimeo here or stay tuned for the next airing on ABC TV and iview

You can also view the suite of redevelopment videos on our YouTube channel here

Watch The Trailer Here!


From 2014 – 2017 OC Connections embarked on a project to move 30 plus participants from congregate care facilities at 1 and 9 Allen Street, Oakleigh into new purpose-built homes within the community.

Funded by the Victorian Government, the redevelopment project was an important step in changing the way people with disability lived.  Participants and families were involved in all aspects of the project with participants forming the Residents Advisory Group.  The group had the opportunity to choose how they wanted to be supported and the model of housing that reflected personal tastes, preferences and special requirements.

The project resulted in the development of five new community homes and one unit. The last of the five homes was completed in December 2016, with a two-bedroom extension to an existing house being completed in April 2017.It concluded in November 2017 with the sale of the congregate care facilities.


The project has a had a significant impact on the lives of the families and participants involved.  It has given them the freedom to choose who they live with, to become involved and connected with their community, and develop independence and confidence, as well as a sense of belonging and value.

See what our participants are now up to!


Since Vlada moved, her confidence has really grown. Vlada is very helpful in the house, often completing administration tasks on her laptop. Vlada loves to complete the weekly menu, make reservations online for meals out and keep in contact with friends and family on her ipad. Vlada loves her 1:1 support and has become more active in her daily life.


Since Carolyn has moved, things have slowed down for her. She now only attends day support one day a week, and spends the rest of her time having individual supports. This has allowed Carolyn to enjoy the things she is most passionate about, such as theatre shows, morning melodies, going to the movies and pampering herself! Carolyn has the opportunity to express her colourful personality with funky haircuts/ colours and beautiful colourful clothes and accessories.


Erica moved into her own unit with her own bathroom and garden. The house Erica now lives in is actually built on the plot of her childhood home. She has strong connections to the house and often tells friends and visitors she grew up in the house with her family. Erica has increased her independent living skills, even making her own meals.


Since moving, Colin has taken an interest in lawn bowls and teaching new recruits on the intricacies of Jack High.  He has been particularly instrumental in educating all residents on safety in the home, organising visits from the Police and Fire Departments. 


Greg has settled into his new home and has been actively involved in his community, organising neighbourhood get-togethers and volunteering at the Lost Dogs Home.



“The redevelopment project could not have happened if it wasn’t for the support of a dedicated group of individuals and organisations.  With their expertise, forethought and commitment, the transition from congregate care to community living was made seamless . . .”

We thank the following for their support

The Honourable Daniel Andrews – Premier of Victoria

The Honourable Martin Foley – Minister for Equality; Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services

Steve Dimopolous – MP – State Member for Oakleigh district

Victorian Government – Department of Health and Human Services

The Board of Directors OC Connections Limited – (Formerly Oakleigh Centre for Intellectually Disabled Citizens)

Residents, Families and Supporters of OC Connections

Staff and former staff of OC Connections (Formerly Oakleigh Centre for Intellectually Disabled Citizens)

City of Monash

We Are Yarn

The architects, builders, surveyors, town planners and others who brought these plans to life

The many supporters, business partners and donors who gave generously to support this project  


With the success of this redevelopment project, OC Connections is excited to move to the next stage of addressing the disparity in housing for people with a disability in our community by exploring and implementing further independent living options in the next five years. This new project will be funded entirely by OC Connections.  If you would like to contribute and help us provide further living options for the people we support, you can do so here:

Leaving Allen Street Participant Beverley Smiling looking to the side

Media Enquiries:

Fleur Haberfield

Manager, Marketing and Communications


0475 958 855