On the International Day of People with Disability, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is pleased to formally announce it will build two brand new disability group homes and an additional 22 affordable housing units in Crebert St, Mayfield, to open in July 2014.
The purpose-built houses will each offer supported accommodation in a group home setting for 4-5 people with disability and will exist as part of a community housing model where 22 affordable housing units will be built and made available to low to middle income earners working in ‘key worker roles’, on the same site.
Vice Chancellor Administration of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Sean Scanlon, says this is something that has been talked about for more than a year and with construction already underway, it is exciting news for the diocese to be able to announce on this day.
“The new group homes will be the fourth and fifth in the region to be operated by the diocese’s welfare and disability services provider, CatholicCare, and the diocese is very happy that it can also offer affordable housing options to people on the same site,” he said.
“International Day of People with Disability is all about recognising the importance of independence and equality for people with disability and the diocese is pleased to formally announce our plan to further support more people with disability in our region on this very important day,” Mr Scanlon said.
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Today is the 21st International Day of People with Disability and this year’s theme is ‘removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all’. The theme was chosen to highlight on the realities of the exclusion of people with disability and be solution focused.
Disability Services Manager, Lou Rak, says one example of exclusion and barrier to social and community participation is access to suitable housing.
“With over 30 years of experience in supported housing and given this important theme, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter Manning elected to use this day of acknowledgement and recognition to announce the development of two new supported accommodation facilities in the Mayfield area,” Ms Rak said.
“The new group homes will be built as part of a wider community housing model on the same site as the 22 new affordable units. The units will be made available to people of the community who work full time but may have a lower earning capacity, therefore find it difficult to pay full market rent in Newcastle’s competitive private rental market. Having a mix of people in the same living location will assist in developing a diverse community contributing to the existing rich society that makes up Mayfield,” she said.
“Our new approach to this style of living is to support people to reach their aspirations and have productive and full lives through both group and one to one support using formal and informal supports.”
“Our new Group Home service provision will be flexible and we will be training new people within the community to offer informal support to people accessing our Group Homes, one to one opportunities to access the community on top of paid staffing support,” she said.
Director of CatholicCare, Lisa Short, said CatholicCare is always looking towards creating more inclusive ways of living for people with disability and says the community housing model will be able to accommodate a wide range of people with various abilities in greater comfort and ease.
CatholicCare anticipates that the new facilities will provide the perfect homes for people to meet new people and develop more interests and community connections. New facilities will be spacious, have ample room for personal care and space and the large kitchen areas are built to encourage participation in cooking by the people accessing the service.
“The design of the house creates social opportunities for residents to meet for meals and informal gatherings and is designed to suit a range of needs including people with additional support needs such as challenging behaviours and complex health needs,” Mrs Short said.
“The location is accessible to services and support to meet client needs, including family or social support, transport, commercial services, education, medical, employment and recreational facilities,” she said.
“CatholicCare’s approach is all about person-centred service delivery and we are excited to be extending our services to more people in the region and offering flexible supported accommodation.”
As with the people already accessing CatholicCare’s group home services, new residents will be able to shape and direct the ongoing service provision through the weekly meetings held in each home where everyone is encouraged to engage in meal and activity planning, share their news of the day and outline future individual and house goals they would like to work toward.
WHAT IS SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION?
Supported accommodation in a group home setting aims to provide people with a disability, who are unable to live independently or with their family, the support they need to increase their independence, achieve personal goals and live full and productive lives.
CatholicCare has been providing support and services to people in the Hunter for more than 50 years and services are available to all, not just Catholics.
In October 2013, CatholicCare opened a brand new disability service office at Charlestown to coincide with the NDIS rollout and has also opened new CatholicCare offices in Mayfield, Taree and Maitland all during 2013.
CatholicCare offers a wide range of services in Mayfield, Charlestown, Maitland and Taree including counselling, foster care, mental health support, youth services and accommodation, disability support and accommodation, marriage education, child and family services, family relationship services and more. Please visit www.catholiccare.org.au for more information.
For more information about the new supported accommodation and the affordable housing units, please contact 4979 1200.