A home of their own

Providing secure, affordable and accessible housing options for local people with intellectual disabilities has been one of two major priorities for the Mount Alexander Shire Accommodation and Respite Group since it formed almost a decade ago.
Over the past three months, MASARG has been consulting with local groups and businesses about their ‘A Home of My Own’ project, an opportunity for the whole community to participate in developing local housing solutions for people with disabilities.
MASARG president Bev Vines said that in addition to establishing the Lions McDonald Hill Respite House to provide short-term respite care, MASARG had been simultaneously researching long-term housing needs for young adults with ageing carers.
“Over the past decade a number of people have been forced to move away from the Mount Alexander Shire and their local connections because of a lack of suitable housing,” Ms Vines said.
MASARG worries that this will continue to remain an issue for coming generations unless something is done.
“Many of the people we care for will outlive us,” said local parent and carer Sue Harrison, who has assisted with the community consultations.
“Most of us lie awake at night and think about what will happen.”
On behalf of MASARG Inc, Ms Vines thanked everyone who took the time to participate in preliminary conversations about a ‘whole of community’ approach to resolving this important social issue and creating exciting economic opportunities at the same time.
“The feedback from our consultations has been positive. Our community has said yes to participating on the leadership and working groups and financial support has been generously pledged by a number of local community groups with hopefully more to come,” she confirmed.
A working plan has been developed by the Melbourne Disability Institute to drive the ‘A Home of My Own’ project forward over a two-year period. Led by the community, it is anticipated that a range of options will be explored to overcome challenges and create new opportunities for suitable housing development.
“The outcome of a major funding submission to be announced in February 2020 will determine the exact scope of the project but we want to let the community know that MASARG is committed to taking this conversation forward,” Ms Vines said.
“I know that many of our ageing carers will be feeling just that bit more optimistic about the new year thanks to the community’s positive support.”
More information can be found about the project online at www.masarg.org.au

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