Crisis accommodation for victims of domestic violence could be operational in Gunnedah in just two weeks.
Allawah Cottage, built and facilitated by Jobs Australia, is just weeks away from providing emergency housing for women and children, something desperately needed as incidents of domestic violence continue to rise.
The build was supposed to take 22 weeks, but delays meant it was unfinished by year's end, however, the tradies have pulled out all the stops to get it done this month.
"They've really been cracking on because we were all pretty disappointed it wasn't finished before Christmas," project manager Tracey Reid said.
Ms Reid said the house was now at the "lock-up" stage, and it's "really looking lovely".
"It's just amazing that during COVID, we actually got a house built. I think that's been an achievement in itself," she said.
The house will be furnished and attention has turned to the substantial yard where donated turf will be laid and members of Rotary West Gunnedah will erect a security fence.
Ms Reid said the project had been well-supported by a countless number of people, both local and further afield. Everything from time, knowledge and expertise, furniture, and funds have been donated to the cause.
"The Gunnedah community as a whole are really amazing people," she said.
Ms Reid is looking forward to seeing Allawah Cottage operational and believes "it's going to make a bigger impact than I thought".
Project committee member Danielle Barisa said while it was sad that crisis accommodation was needed, it was exciting to see "all of the hard work pay off".
Ms Barisa first read about the project in the NVI in 2019 and said since she had become involved, numerous locals had approached her and shared their own experiences of domestic violence.
"It's been amazing, and also really challenging, how many women in the community, from all walks of life, from different families, have come to me and have said, 'I've got a best friend going through this', 'I've been going through this' ... it's a lot more widespread and prolific than I would have realised," Ms Barisa said.
"It's a real misconception that domestic violence only affects certain groups."
Ms Barisa said Allawah Cottage could not only provide practical help for victims, but was a key to "opening up that conversation" and connecting victims to support networks.
Work on Gunnedah Family Support's transition housing will start this year.
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