DEC newsAddressing (another) gap in disability accommodation

Nov 30, 2023

For all of us at DEC Housing, the recent Housing Hub report revealed some important insights and data that demand our immediate attention and action.

To start with, the Report finds that only two-thirds of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) providers are providing their tenants full choice over their support providers. This is a startling and disturbing revelation, given that complete autonomy in choosing support providers is not just an expectation but a requirement under the NDIS. This gap highlights a crucial area for improvement in upholding the rights of people with disability and ensuring legal compliance.

In a second striking point, the report notes the mismatch between the availability of SDA in plans and actual housing. While approximately 23,000 participants have SDA in their plans, only 13,000 have made claims against these plans. This suggests that around 10,000 people with disability are currently awaiting appropriate housing—a significant concern for all stakeholders.

The report also sheds light on the current inventory of SDA dwellings. As of June 2023, Australia has 7,925 enrolled SDA dwellings, a 12% increase from the previous year. These dwellings can accommodate nearly 21,000 SDA places. However, less than half of these dwellings are classified as New Build stock, meeting modern disability housing standards. The rest are Existing or Legacy stock, often falling short of contemporary standards and, consequently, not suitable for many people with disability.

This data underscores a pressing need in our sector: bridging the gap between demand and supply, particularly for high-quality, contemporary disability housing. It's time to focus our efforts on increasing the availability of New Build SDA dwellings that truly cater to the diverse and specific needs of people with disability. And, of course, these efforts should also extend to a serious conversation, resolving itself in actions, about how to support 'the other 94 per cent' of NDIS participants who don't have access to SDA funding at all.

As a community, let's collaborate to address these challenges, ensuring that every individual with a disability has access to suitable, empowering, and quality housing.

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