Housing the Other 94% of NDIS Recipients
23 April 2018 at 1:02 pm
The community housing sector has the opportunity to provide greater housing support for the 94 per cent of National Disability Insurance Scheme recipients not eligible for Specialist Disability Accommodation, a housing conference has heard.
The Community Housing Industry Association Victoria’s (CHIA Vic) 2018 conference held a session examining the potential impact of NDIS recipients on the community housing sector.
With only about 6 per cent of NDIS recipients able to receive SDA housing assistance as part of their package, the session discussed disability housing options for the other 94 per cent.
Housing the “other 94%” – #NDIS projected spend $22bn in 2018-19, as #disability care moves towards consumer choice in the private sector. SDA market component only 6%. How do we house the other 94%? #CHIAVicBNW Conference pic.twitter.com/7mI2HoD1pQ
— Housing Choices AU (@HChoicesAU) April 19, 2018
One of the session presenters was Joseph Connellan, the director of disability housing consulting firm MC Two.
He told Pro Bono News that part of the challenge was introducing the housing sector to what the NDIS is.
“The latest estimates would indicate that in Victoria we might have about 5,000 to 10,000 NDIS recipients who have always been eligible for social housing, but who can now access it because they have [increased] support,” Connellan said.
“And that is a huge number when we usually are looking at hundreds of people.”
Connellan said this represented a significant level of demand coming down the track and that the community housing sector could “absolutely” be doing more to address this.
“If you look at what we’re looking for, it’s about people that understand developing and maintaining and managing housing for people with disabilities in community settings,” he said.
“It’s [community housing providers’] history and their mission to house those most in need and in fact if you look at the portfolio of any community housing provider, you’ll find more than a quarter will be for people with disabilities.
“And there’s also the opportunity, because there’s money both in SDA and in other areas such as planning. So if you put those three things together: history, mission and opportunity… I think it’s a no brainer.”
The NDIS introduced a $700 million funding provision for SDA in July 2016, offering “the potential to allow 28,000 Australians with disability to move into accessible and affordable housing”.
Connellan said SDA was delivering high levels of commercial return, which provided further opportunities for the community housing sector.
“There is a possibility for blended projects for example, [which can be] cross subsidised so we can generate housing that way,” he said.
“There is also demand coming out of the private market, with mums and dads putting money into housing looking for people’s expertise in developing and managing housing for people with disabilities – which is what the community housing sector has.
“So essentially what we’re seeing is this emergence of this area of demand in a number of different segments, where the expertise sits in the community housing sector but it hasn’t been really bundled up or transferred across yet.”
A report released last year into the threats and opportunities for more accessible and affordable market-led housing under the NDIS, noted that community housing providers (CHP) had been subject to “inconsistent and fragmented” approaches between different jurisdictions.
“Growth of the SDA market will rely on a clear compliance and regulatory system. The national regulatory system for CHPs is an example of how national harmonisation in regulation and registration can help develop this market,” the report said.
Connellan said while SDA was “incredibly important” and had helped double the supply of disability housing, its continued development would be slow.
“The system is still evolving. The truth is the NDIS is so complex that it is taking far longer to evolve than any other thing I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been in social policy development for 30 years,” he said.
“One of the biggest things at the minute is getting a maturity in the planning system that will recognise the housing need, including SDA and extending beyond.
“That’s just a matter of the National Disability Insurance Agency scaling up. It’s a slow and frustrating process… [but is] just about capacity.”