A charity trying to attack the 25-year wait list for supported living housing broke ground Saturday in Cottam at the site of its first first house.
Murchadha House for Those with Exceptional Needs, is the non-profit charity dedicated to building group homes for people in Essex County with intellectual disabilities. Construction is expected to begin in May.
“I’m so proud of what this is going to be,” said Murchadha House president Sandy Murphy. “It’s only just beginning. We’re going to keep going and the best is yet to come.”
Murphy and her husband, Darrin, decided to take action when they discovered their 12-year-old son Joshua, who has intellectual disabilities, could wait more than two decades for supportive housing. They began work to establish Murchadha House — the name comes from the Gaelic word for Murphy — about two years ago.
“To be standing on this lot, knowing we are months away from what will be a brand new supportive housing project that will deliver care and love and support to members of our community is incredible,” said MPP Taras Natyshak (NDP — Essex). “For folks to come forward and put this amount of effort forward just because they know there is a need is really remarkable.”
The first house, costing about $550,000, will be a fully-accessible ranch. Once it’s built, Community Living Essex County will rent the house and operate it as a home for four people with intellectual disabilities under the age of 18.
“There is a vital need for youth and adults with exceptional needs, and this home will help fill that gap no doubt,” said Essex County Warden Gary McNamara. He announced Saturday a donation of $1,000 to the project from money raised at his annual charity golf tournament.
“We need the help of the community to raise money to build these houses so that the residents can afford to live there,” said Murphy. “We’re in need of cash donations to meet our goal for this project. Any help we can get is greatly appreciated.”
Murchadha House’s goal is to have its first house completed this fall.