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MASARG levels aim at creating ‘A home of my own’
MUCH like most other people her age, 32-year-old Daisy Harrison would like a place to call her own.
In drafting her National Disability Insurance Scheme plan, the Castlemaine resident identified living independently as one of her objectives.
“I would like to be in a place in Castlemaine with a few others that I knew and trust, where I have my own small space or unit,” she wrote.
“It’s not good for me to be alone for too long.
“I’m happier and healthier if I am about to choose some quiet time as well as also being involved with people of my choice doing safe, interesting, fun or useful things.”
The introduction of the NDIS is encouraging people with disabilities to pursue goals they might previously have considered dreams.
Moving out of the family home is among them, Daisy’s mother Sue said.
But while the NDIS will offer people more support to live independently, if they so wish, there remains a dearth of suitable accommodation.
Particularly in the Mount Alexander Shire, community members said.
Almost 5 per cent of the shire’s population – 815 people – identified a need for assistance in their day-to-day lives because of a disability during the 2011 census.
However, the council acknowledged in its 2015-17 Interim Disability Action Plan that the percentage of people with a disability is likely to be much greater.
“This definition does not capture those with milder forms of impairment that might affect people’s ability to actively participate in the community,” the plan stated.
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According to the Mount Alexander Shire Accommodation and Respite Group, there are no supported accommodation options in the municipality.
“Those who require supported living usually move to the Castlemaine Health Service Aged Care facilities or are obliged to move away from the area, experiencing severe disruption and connection,” the group’s website states.
The cost of support while living independently, combined with a low income, has historically made private housing unaffordable for many people.
MASARG is seeking to address the lack of affordable, long-term housing for people with disabilities by creating some of its own.
The group has launched its second project, which will see purpose-built permanent accommodation constructed in Castlemaine.
Members hope to have works underway within two years.
Research has been ongoing for some time.
In a deputation to the shire council, MASARG members said what they had already learned “clearly illustrates an urgent need.”