Across Australia many ageing parents are caregivers to their adult children living with disability and they are worried about where their children will live in the future. While the NDIS provides funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) only 6% of recipients are eligible, with many more in need. However, new and innovative approaches to affordable disability accomodation are being trailed across Australia.
Those who do not meet the requirement for NDIS funded housing are expected to continue accessing housing in the private market, but research has shown that there is a significant under supply of accessible housing across Australia. And it is not just a question about finding accessible housing; location, access and/or modifications are just as important for an individual with disability.
The lack of affordable housing is one of the primary issues that the disability community is currently facing. While there has been a significant increase in accessible housing being built, they are often expensive and not affordable through the NDIS or on a disability pension. As a result, people with disability are struggling to access housing that is both accessible and affordable and end up living with family members or at nursing homes for extended periods.
Many people with disability are therefore forced to look at older rental properties, which are often not appropriate for a person with disability and require significant investment to improve their accessibility. Two alternative approaches to home ownership are emerging in Victoria and NSW, a community housing model on the Central Coast and a new and innovative co-ownership model trialled in Bendigo, VIC.
IRT communities, an operator of retirement communities and aged-care residences, is now operating Kemira on the NSW Central Coast – a new community housing model for adults living with intellectual disability and their family member or carer. Kemira aims to solve the challenge of what to do when a parent can no longer look after their adult child with disability. By providing lifelong leases and capped rent, people with disability will be able to remain at the property long after the passing of their parent.
A new co-ownership model of SDA homes is being trialled in Bendigo, VIC and will provide people with disability the opportunity to continue living a lifestyle they are accustomed to. With this new program participants can purchase a private bedroom and share the communal living spaces with two other individuals with disability. Co-ownership would provide long-term financial security for individuals with disability, and the scheme is designed so they can sell their share of the property without affecting the other occupants.
We’re excited to see innovation and progress in the industry and look forward to a more inclusive Australia for people with disability.