New housing for those with special needs

Happy days: McCallum Disability Services chair Joe Ballinger, resident Andrew Van Gaans and Buninyong MP Geoff Howard.

Happy days: McCallum Disability Services chair Joe Ballinger, resident Andrew Van Gaans and Buninyong MP Geoff Howard.

Eight young Ballarat people living with a disability have moved into a brand new residential development designed to cater for their needs.

The $1.8 million state and federal government funded residential area was unveiled on Friday.

The four units in Albert Street, Sebastopol, were delivered through a collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services, McCallum Disability Services and Housing Choices Australia, with McCallum also assisting with the funding.

Several families of  the new residents living with a disability spoke at the opening, citing the development as a major support for their ongoing commitments to their children.

HCA managing director Michael Lennon said the units were designed so they were spacious, modern, open plan and, most importantly, tailored to residents’ needs. The development is also close to shops, public transport and other services.

“It’s a more innovative supported independent living rather than a traditional group home,” Mr Lennon said.

“Here at Albert Street, there will be a lot more personal space for people but, equally, the opportunity to forge connections and friendships within the development, the neighbourhood and the wider community.

“I can see this being more than a new home for residents. It will be a new start – a chance to spread their wings with just the right level of support. I know it will also bring an enormous amount of relief, assurance and hope for the future for their parents and families as well.”

McCallum chief executive Tyrone McCuskey said there were four two bedroom units and one one-bedroom unit for staff.

“The unit complex is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by McCallum staff with a sleepover model of support.” Mr McCuskey said.

Buninyong MP Geoff Howard said more facilities of this type are a priority.

“It's fantastic to think we have facilities like this and I hope it's the start of others to be built in Ballarat,” Mr Howard said.