A PLAN to fill a gap in the housing market for older residents in Dunolly and its surrounds is a step closer to becoming a reality, having attracted the interest of a community housing organisation.
Dunolly District Hospital Auxiliary chair Fiona Lindsay said members had high hopes of achieving a memorandum of understanding with the as yet unnamed organisation before the year's end.
Doing so would enable those involved in the project to work on developing at least one cluster of Independent Living Units.
Ms Lindsay said the units were intended to serve the housing, health and social needs of many older, frailer members of the community.
The proposal was inspired by the situation many people found themselves in - of having some assets, but not enough to improve their living situations.
The 'catch-22' meant ageing Victorians were living in housing that no longer met their needs.
Faye Nicholson, one of the auxiliary members, said she knew first-hand what it was like to be in that predicament. She has a house in town, in Dunolly.
"It's falling down around my ears," she said.
But the 74-year-old said she couldn't afford all the work she'd need to get done to the house to make it better suited to her needs.
"I'm going to be in need," Ms Nicholson said.
The idea of Independent Living Units also appealed to Isobel Hawksley, who lives in an original settlement property near Eddington.
"There is no way I could part with any of it," she said.
But the 77-year-old said she was aware there would come a time when being so far from services would pose a difficulty.
"It just depends on my health,' she said.
Ms Lindsay said the proposal's merits had been widely recognised and had the support of council and the Maryborough District Health Service.
However, she said: "Projects like this don't meet a nice, neat criterion". That meant securing funding had been challenging.
The auxiliary had also recognised the need for a specialist organisation with experience in the sector to deliver the project.
"The need is still as strong as it has ever been," fellow auxiliary member Marion Da Costa said.
"We're all getting older. People want to stay in the community."
A parcel of vacant land at the Dunolly District Hospital has been offered as a prospective site.
A feasibility study confirmed there was a gap in housing provision for older, rural low and middle-income people who were ineligible for public or social housing or for residential aged care.
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