Building a new accommodation model

The site of Achieve Australia’s Crowle Home Large Residential Centre in Meadowbank has been redeveloped to provide Platinum Standard apartments within a medium density residential setting. This is the first development of its kind in Sydney and it opened in 2016.

A major redevelopment has been undertaken in the Sydney suburb of Meadowbank at Achieve Australia’s Crowle housing estate to deliver inclusive living for people with disabilities.

The journey began when Achieve undertook the devolution of Crowle Home in 2014, then closed the site. This devolution was undertaken to improve the quality of life of former residents.

At the time, Achieve did not have the financial resources to fund alternative housing or accommodation. It therefore sought a development partner and external experts to realise the potential value of the asset locked in the land, occupied by a building that was beyond its economic and social policy life and no longer fit for purpose.

The sale of the land and the approved concept plan funded contemporary housing in the community for the residents of Crowle Home, as well as an additional number of people with disability requiring accommodation support – thus leveraging the asset to provide more support, for more people at limited cost to government.

The devolution and redevelopment involved negotiations with multiple levels of government and stakeholders – including the local community and families of people who had lived in Crowle Home for almost their entire lives.

To undertake this project, Achieve formed a strong partnership with commercial developer DeiCorp which shares its vision of social inclusion for people with disability. Deicorp’s commitment included intensive consultations around the design of accessible units, redesigning public art installations to allow greater accessibility, providing additional disability parking spaces, and adjusting the height of car parking to meet Achieve Australia’s requirements.

One of the historical buildings from Crowle Estate.
Residents celebrating Christmas at Crowle Estate
Students studying at the original Crowle Estate.
Playing cricket at the original Crowle Estate.

Creating a new accommodation model

Complex challenges

Crowle Estate was built on the site of the former Crowle Home – a Large Residential Centre (LRC) housing almost 50 people with disability. The Home reached the point where it could not meet the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability or the NSW Disability Act 1993. Achieve was also required to comply with policy directives issued from the NSW Government to support residents of the LRC to move out into community housing.

The LRC model created forced routines and regimens such as communal eating times, segregated male and female living, and limited privacy. The entire facility was located within fenced and gated grounds with limited integration with the surrounding residential neighbourhoods.

Achieve’s objective was clear – enable the 50 people with disability to live independently in the community by transitioning them to social housing without government funding for capital costs.

In The Press

Life is sweet in a new home with a view.

The Crowle Estate Article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

A sun-filled, spacious apartment with a generous balcony overlooking a park is the dream of many Sydneysiders.

The realisation of that dream is especially poignant for Ross Madden and Lola Constance, who moved into their new apartment eight months ago at the Crowle Estate residential development in Ryde.

Read the full article >>

Would you like to know more about the accommodation opportunities at
Crowle Estate?

Make an enquiry today.

Communication was key

From the very beginning of the devolution process and redevelopment, Achieve took a structured approach to communication and obtaining family input to ensure individual wants and needs were identified and met. For example, in facilitating the move of people into the new Platinum Standard accessible apartments the communications included:

  • Initial phone contact
  • Face to face meetings between families and the CEO and management team of Achieve
  • Follow up individual meetings to obtain further feedback
  • Group meetings to allow families of clients moving into Crowle Estate to get to know one another. These meetings also included guest speakers such as subject matter experts and clients and families who had been through a devolution in other areas.
  • Proposed resident grouping meetings to gain input from people who may be moving in together, and their families.
  • Travel to meetings with people with disability and families in regional areas, prior to their move to Sydney.
  • Other forms of communication included a newsletter, web site, social media and satisfaction surveys.

Positive Outcomes

  • Crowle Estate is enriching the lives of residents through proximity to the local community and services, easy access to public transport, and the fact that it has enabled long-time Crowle Home residents to return to the site – but this time to live in brand new, purpose-built apartments.
  • The project pioneered the distribution of accessible apartments throughout a general residential community, which encourages social inclusion
  • The project is also adding to the social housing capacity of NSW, addressing the perennial problem of short supply.
  • Crowle Estate was the first medium density development in NSW to achieve the Livable Housing Australia Platinum Certification. It was also recognised in 2015 by the Australasian Housing Institute with a Highly Commended Award for innovation.
  • Clients who planned to move into Crowle Estate were introduced to others who also wanted to relocate so they can start building social connections.
  • Through this project, Achieve has demonstrated that disability service providers can leverage assets to develop new infrastructure and deliver more housing options to people with disability – all at no additional cost to the government.
  • The supported transition of residents from existing group homes into Crowle Estate also enabled Achieve to exit ten houses which were rented – then transfer those residents to wholly-owned, higher quality, Platinum Standard community homes.
  • Achieve’s commitment to innovation in housing is further underlined by the fact that it is a key research partner in a two-year, multi-jurisdictional research project led by Curtin University in partnership with the University of Sydney and Deakin University. This project is exploring the relationship between the characteristics and quality of independent supported living arrangements and outcomes for adults with disability who live there.
Residents enjoy the new Crowle Estate.
Residents enjoy the new Crowle Estate.
Residents enjoy the new Crowle Estate.
Residents enjoy the new Crowle Estate.

Planned technology for safety and independence

Crowle Estate’s accessible apartments will soon include assistive technologies which are nonintrusive and designed to support the dignity, safety and independence of tenants.

  • Seizure mats on beds which can detect and communicate with an on-site support centre if seizures occur during sleep.
  • Sensors which recognise tenants’ movements and use of electronic devices within apartments in case of changed routines or medical or domestic emergencies.
  • Active lighting which comes on automatically if tenants move into a dark area of an apartment, for way-finding and safety.
  • Remote controlled temperature adjustment to allow the support centre to maintain apartment environments at safe and comfortable levels, as required by tenants.
  • Emergency alarms which allow tenants to quickly contact the on-site support centres.
  • Push-button, handset-free communications which can be initiated by tenants from any room in the apartments for direct contact with the support centres.
  • There will be no video or audio monitoring of tenants within their apartments. Alarms or communications are activated as required by tenants.
  • The use of technology has also enabled more efficient and responsive monitoring of tenant safety from service hubs located within the complex and staffed 24 hours a day.

The power of partnerships

Working to meet the diverse needs of Australians with a disability.

Achieve works with a wide variety of partners to design, acquire, develop, construct, adapt and maintain housing to meet the diverse needs of Australians with a disability.

Current partners include:

  • Housing NSW
  • Community Housing Providers (CHPs)
  • Private sector developers with a shared vision of social inclusion for people with disability

Industry specialists including:

  • Developers
  • Architects
  • Project Managers
  • Suppliers of specialist disability solutions
  • Consultants on liveability and accessibility

Would you like to know more about the accommodation opportunities at
Crowle Estate?

Make an enquiry today.