Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding is intended to improve access to appropriate housing and living arrangements of people with disability. In the last edition of Enable, we explored the challenges that many people with disability and staff working in the disability sector have encountered with SDA. Particularly, the difficult administration process for SDA funding, which has meant the majority of NDIS participants cannot gain approval for funding. 

This has left 94% of NDIS participants locked out of secure and appropriate disability housing, and left families and disability sector staff feeling frustrated by the system.   

However, the Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI) and Brotherhood of St Laurence have identified this problem. They have launched the NDIS Housing Pathways Project, which aims to build a platform to help people with disability find appropriate housing. The project will collate and share housing solutions for “the other 94%”.   

“We recognise that 6% of NDIS participants get SDA, so there’s a whole group of other people who need different solutions,” explains Joseph Connellan, Senior Manager of Housing at the Melbourne Disability Institute.  

“We believe that communities are profoundly interested in the housing needs of their members with the NDIS, but are typically unaware of what their needs are. So we work with communities to inform them what the demand and the possibilities are for their members with the NDIS. We then want to engage them to help solve the problem.”   

An Achieve Australia client is supported in her SDA approved home

Where it is successfully rolled out, quality disability accommodation is changing lives

The NDIS Housing Pathways Project aims to facilitate communication and collaboration across different communities, including people with disability and disability sector staff, to find innovative disability housing solutions for SDA.  The project will: 

  • Identify and review existing information, services and research  
  • Produce resources in a variety of formats, including digital and online  
  • Distribute the resources to a range of groups commencing with Local Area Co-ordinators  
  • Develop and pilot training packages based on the material produced  
  • Develop and pilot a community-based methodology to support community understanding and action to house the NDIS participants in their community  
  • Promote research opportunities around NDIS and housing.  

The project wants to address and help find solutions to the current challenges experienced by all those looking for, providing, or helping to find suitable housing for people with disability under the NDIS.   

To do this, they want to hear from you. If you have a question about disability housing, you can submit it to the NDIS Housing Pathways Project so that they can work to address it and share a solution.   

While accessing suitable disability accommodation has proved a challenge for many during the first years of the NDIS rollout, it’s encouraging to see innovative solutions emerging that will help unite the disability sector. 

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