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How Can We Make it Easier For People With Disability to Find a Home?

23 November 2018 at 4:49 pm
Luke Michael
Experts believe a new platform helping people with disability find a home could become the Airbnb of accessible housing.

Luke Michael | 23 November 2018 at 4:49 pm


How Can We Make it Easier For People With Disability to Find a Home?
23 November 2018 at 4:49 pm

Experts believe a new platform helping people with disability find a home could become the Airbnb of accessible housing.     

Researchers from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) examined how to make it easier to find accessible properties and match them to people living with disability.

The report found between 80,000 and 120,000 National Disability Insurance Scheme participants have been unable to find an affordable and suitably equipped house, and that the private housing sector had failed to provide appropriate housing.

It also noted there was no register of accessible stock for people to find a suitable home.  

“Currently, the accessible housing market suffers because accessible housing is not registered and people living with a disability cannot easily find what exists,” lead researcher Dr Andrea Sharam said.

“Further, home owners often remove accessible features prior to selling or letting, as they are seen to lower the property’s value. However for some buyers and tenants, these features are just the things they are looking for.”

The researchers said an online matching platform – which connects landlords and owners of accessible housing with people who want to rent or buy – could be the solution.

The Summer Foundation already offers a service, The Housing Hub, which matches accessible properties and people living with disability.

Their CEO Luke Bo’sher told Pro Bono News he believed The Housing Hub could become the Airbnb of accessible housing.

“We hope the platform will be the premier site for people with disability to find housing and can be as well-known across the disability sector as Airbnb is for holiday rentals,” Bo’sher said.

AHURI experts agree, and said a future reiteration of The Housing Hub could become a permanent register of all discoverable accessible houses in Australia.

But first, they said the government should enforce mandating reporting of accessible properties to create a national inventory of accessible housing.

Bo’sher said a new kind of market infrastructure was needed for people with disability to find mainstream accessible rental options beyond just Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

The Housing Hub pilot has expanded from just Victoria to most states around Australia, and Bo’sher said the next step was for people to create their own profiles with information on their needs and housing preferences.

“This will help with the matching part of the platform but we also know the market is not meeting the needs of everyone, and so this will be a great tool to proactively shape what the market builds in response to those who aren’t getting a match,” he said.

The Housing Hub is all about empowering people with disability to exercise choice in the market, Bo’sher added.

“I think a lot of people with disability out there think all that’s available to them is a group home in the traditional style,” he said.

“But what the website does is show there are a whole range of other things people can think about.”  

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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