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Disability Housing Crisis Report

28 April 2015 at 11:49 am
Xavier Smerdon
The NDIS advocacy Not for Profit, Every Australian Counts, has launched a report warning of a massive disability housing shortfall within the next five years.

Xavier Smerdon | 28 April 2015 at 11:49 am


Disability Housing Crisis Report
28 April 2015 at 11:49 am

The NDIS advocacy Not for Profit, Every Australian Counts, has launched a report warning of a massive disability housing shortfall within the next five years.

The NFP said the report was in response to 18 months of inaction by State and Commonwealth Governments.

“The crisis in disability housing has been building for the last decade, driven by the challenge created as the baby boomer generation ages and is no longer physically able to provide in-home support for their adult children with disability,” Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, John Della Bosca said.

“By 2020, if no action is taken there will be up to 122,000 Australians with a significant disability without appropriate housing.”

The report was developed from 650 personal stories from people with disability and their families.

The report is called ‘A Place I Can Proudly Call Home’ – a quote taken from  one participant who shared his story about living day to day in a budget hotel while he waits for community housing.

“People with disability and their families want to live in their own home, in safety and with control and autonomy over who they live with and where,” Della Bosca said.

“When we won the NDIS, Parliamentarians across Australia were our champions. We now need Disability Ministers to once again lead the way on critical social reform.

“We have sent this report to the Disability Minister in every State and Territory. We want Governments to be disability housing heroes. We have a once in a generation opportunity to tackle the disability housing crisis – but we need action not more talk.”

Some of the reports findings include:

  • There is a huge difference between what kind of housing people would like for the future and what they currently have.

  • A majority of people want to live in a home of their own (with or without formal supports) that would not involve living with people other than their immediate family.

  • Around a third would like a form of shared living such as a share house with one or two others, or community with others of similar disability.

  • No-one expressed a wish to live in a large residential centre

  • One of the biggest concerns for older parents and their children is what will happen when the parents are no longer able to care for their child

  • Housing affordability is a very common, strong and recurring driver and concern.

  • The most common theme of all relates to personal autonomy of people with disability. In whatever way it is expressed – and there are many ways in which it is said – across every form of housing type, tenure and model of support, people say they want themselves or their family members to live in circumstances and with support models that maximise personal freedom.

The Every Australian Counts campaign has called on all Governments who share responsibility for both social housing and the NDIS to commit to:

  • All new residential construction, at a minimum, is built according to the silver level Liveable Housing Australia accreditation standards. This would reduce the cost and increase the supply of accessible housing in Australia

  • The NDIA uses the trial sites to test and report on new models for creating accessible disability housing with a focus on stimulating private investment in new housing stock. This trial should inform the community and policy makers of the most efficient way to increase housing options for people with disability.

  • NDIS funding be allocated to delivering new housing for people with disability rather than maintaining existing housing stock. This will ensure a minimum of $700 million a year from 2019 will go towards increasing viable housing options for people with disability.

Following the release of the report, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council meeting released a communique saying Ministers noted that the total budget for the full NDIS scheme includes capital costs for specialist accommodation.

“Some of these funds will need to support existing specialist accommodation supply,” COAG said.

“The balance of funds will support people with disability requiring an integrated housing and support model to access housing and to enable the market to generate and leverage new and innovative specialist disability housing.

“The Council has asked officials to work with the NDIA to support the development and testing of innovative accommodation pilots in trial sites that will help to expand the supply of appropriate and sustainable integrated housing and support models for people with disability.

This may include existing, contemporary and/or innovative supports.

“Initially this will focus on trial sites in which there are adequate funds to support meaningful activity in this area.”

“These pilots will start to provide us with evidence about how different models contribute to outcomes for participants.

“It is very important that we take a measured approach to investment to ensure that the scheme is sustainable and can meet the needs of participants into the future.

“Increasing the supply of specialist disability housing will be incremental. A small number of initial pilots can help us define a path forward for specialist housing options to support participants as the NDIS transitions to a national scheme.

“The NDIS efforts in relation to specialist disability housing will be in addition to the ongoing mainstream housing effort of States and Territories.”

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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