Dignity first: Work starts on $8m disability apartments
JOANNA Leane was a happy woman as she watched the earth shift on 12 new specialist apartments for people with a disability similar to hers, after several years of fighting for them.
"It's wonderful - it's been a while (to get to this point)," she said.
MS Queensland has officially launched construction of the $8 million accommodation project on Hume St in South Toowoomba, as part of its efforts to meet a 90-bed shortfall in homes for people living with multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions across the city.
The new apartments, which will be developed and serviced by MS Queensland, are part of the organisation's Best Life Project.
Mrs Leane, who was part of the public campaign back in 2018 for the new apartments, said it was important to give younger people living with MS a sense of dignity and independence.
"We've got to get these people out of the aged care system that are too young to be there, and have them in a common ground to make them feel young, more independent and happier," she said.
"I am lucky enough to have a very supportive husband and family - if I need (changes to our home), he'll make it work.
"I have so many friends that their marriages and families have not survived the challenges that MS brings."
The new units will include a second guest bedroom and bathroom, as well as a community area which features tea and coffee amenities for residents to share with guests.
MS Queensland CEO David Curd said the multimillion-dollar project would provide 24-hour care for the residents once completed.
"This is a monumental occasion because for MS Queensland, this is the project where we're taking on roles as both developer and also the independent service provider," he said.
"At this stage, we know there is at least a shortfall of 90 beds or homes in Toowoomba - for Queensland it's well over 1000.
"We're dealing with 12 of those spots today, with plenty more work to do.
"What we're trying to do is create a sense of home that most people enjoy, but also comes with those extra amenities."
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio, who helped launch the project, became emotional in his speech when discussing his late wife, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
The project is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.
Expressions of interest are now open for the 12 units, so call MS Queensland on 1800 413 717 for more information.