Challenge House nearing completion in Mittagong

The foundations of the concept have been there for a long time, but now Challenge House has walls too.

The house, under construction on the corner of Anne and Cook Streets in Mittagong, will allow residents with disabilities to gain independence and develop the skills necessary to live independently.

The transitional housing project by Challenge Southern Highlands is all about providing a safe, supportive environment for residents that will empower them to grow their independence, Challenge Southern Highlands general manager Tony McElhinney said.

“We have avoided an institutionalised approach, and we’ll have the residents set up their own house rules,” he said.

Mr McElhinney said the house had been a long time coming. “We’ve been working on this for 10 years, and we’re happy to see it all coming together. Now our focus is on getting it finished,” he said.

The house will cater for up to 18 people, with individual double-sized bedrooms with both internal and external access.

“There will be carpet tiles in the bedrooms and neutral colouring so they can personalise their own rooms,” Mr McElhinney said. “We want it to be just like it would be at their own house.”

Dobsonei Construction director Mark Dobson said Challenge House was initially designed as a residential house, but had been adjusted to meet fire-proofing and sound insulation requirements. “We’ve tried to consider the longevity of the house, it will be at least 20 years before we have to do anything other than wash it down,” he said.

Mr Dobson said his team had tried to use local suppliers as much as possible. “We’ve had some suppliers who’ve managed to have materials donated and discount the labour, which all makes a big difference.”

With the house almost ready for a big lick of paint, Mr McElhinney said painters were in demand. “We could use support – anyone who can donate a day’s work can feel free to get in touch.”

Mr McElhinney said the house was for people from the Southern Highlands who were capable of moving in to transitional housing. For more information on the Challenge House project visit www.challengesh.org.au

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