Building accommodation for people with a disability and holiday (Get away time) for their caregivers / families.

Building accommodation for people with a disability and holiday (Get away time) for their caregivers / families.

Help to complete an accomodation project for special needs families.

Ian and Leisa Williams, who live in Canberra, are reaching out for help to complete special needs accommodation. This is to offer suitable people living with disabilities to live on a property they have purchased, including being able to provide holiday accommodation to caregivers. It is a large block with space for multiple dwellings and is in an ideal location for a holiday, catering to the unique needs of special needs families.

The block is in Swansea, NSW.

The plans have been drawn up for a two-bedroom granny flat, and there is an opportunity to renovate a shed into a studio unit. Still, due to the rising costs in the building industry, all the funds had to be diverted into renovating the main cottage (two bedroom) to disability standards.

Did you know?

Little funding is available for caregivers to have a break, let alone in accommodation with their loved ones, which is specifically built to disability standards. The pressures on special needs families are enormous, and many families’ needs go unnoticed as it all seems too difficult to find a solution to their daily extenuating problems.

Families with special needs often do not have holidays as even if they can afford to get away, there is a shortage of suitable accommodation.

The issues are heartbreaking and overwhelming. The accommodation problem for people with disability is complex as their carers age, and sadly some find their way into the aged care or hospital system here in Australia. It is not okay that families must fight so hard for their loved ones to have basic human needs met, i.e., safe, affordable accommodation, let alone to expect to have a holiday.

Your giving will help us:

• complete accommodation for our son with special needs due to substantial cost overruns, which we are financing entirely on our own; and need to make financially sustainable so he can fulfill his goals.

• enable us to further support the community by renovating the shed into a studio apartment the granny flat will now need to be used to bring in rental income to make the whole project viable.

Our story

In 2003, our son Justin was diagnosed with autism and developmental delays. He was 27 months old when we were told he would have the mental capacity of a 14-month-old and that he would never speak or progress beyond a toddler’s ability. My life was thrown into turmoil as suddenly, my hopes and dreams were put on hold, sidelined by a constant stream of appointments, decisions, and unforeseen responsibilities.

You can read about our story in my book Hope Wins (or by exploring my website

The emotional and physical toll of the advocacy to enable Justin to fulfill his calling to be a Pastor is complicated. We have taken this seriously and are grateful that a church in the local area has been willing to intern Justin as he completes his Bible college studies online with full support. To enable Justin to pursue the hopes and dreams that God has placed in his heart, we have bought a house that required a complete renovation to disability standards. The cost personally involves a mortgage of well over AUD 1 million. A team of dedicated builders has completed the two-bedroom cottage, which in this current climate, is a miracle.

Unfortunately, the rising costs of building materials, labour, and interest rates have blown out the project’s cost by an estimated AUD 200,000. To cover the ongoing mortgage repayments, we need to build a granny flat to rent out to make the project viable however, the studio space in the garage could offer short-term accommodation for families with special needs.

The property is 400 meters from the water, a 5-minute walk to shops, cafes, doctors, and other medical facilities, and is near a public pool. It is close to beaches. The property and surrounding area are flat and wheelchair accessible. People with special needs can readily access the local area.

Justin’s goal is to build independent living skills to live independently in his home and work as a Pastor at Gateway Church, and he hopes to get a job in a local café. He needs 24/7 care and support to accomplish these goals until additional capacity is built.

Justin had never lived out of his home in Canberra and, with full support, is doing well. We have entrusted him to the care of a disability support company with an incredible staff. We never expected to be in this position where Justin could live without us, but Justin has a goal to learn to live independently and build his capacity to serve others in a church community.

What do we need

– to raise $ 200,000 to build the disability-friendly studio appartment for respite and short-term rentals for caregivers.

– Any additional funds raised would be used to complete the project by landscaping the grounds, erecting fences to separate the various areas, and providing an outdoor pergola and BBQ area.

Thank you for reading our story, and if you feel moved to give, we would be humbled and very grateful.

No one should go through what we have had to go through to fight for funding and accommodation and to give our son with a disability the dignity of achieving his goals and having a meaningful life.

Ideally, we should raise the money by the 5th of April (or sooner) to complete this project without delay.

Thank you for reading our story and kindly considering if you can contribute to this property’s completion.

Ian and Leisa Williams