Who we are - Summer Foundation
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Who we are

The Summer Foundation, established in 2006, is committed to resolving the issue of young people living in aged care. Supporting, informing and empowering people with disability and their families is key to resolving this issue.


People with disability and complex support needs live where and with whom they choose, with access to high quality housing and support options that enhance health, wellbeing and participation.


To create, lead and demonstrate long-term sustainable systems change that stops young people from being forced to live in residential aged care because there is nowhere else for them.

Strategic priorities

We are focused on achieving the following outcomes:


NDIS participants with complex support needs can readily access a range of housing options which align with their needs and preferences.


NDIS participants with complex needs in hospitals are identified early and receive skilled and intensive discharge planning so they can return to community living when they are clinically ready for discharge with NDIS funded and mainstream services.


The NDIS enables people with complex support needs to be in control of where they live and how they are supported. NDIS access is timely, planning is effective, the workforce is capable and meets the needs of participants, and people with disability have access to information and support to make informed decisions and advocate for themselves.

Aged care

Young people who would have previously been referred to the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) are provided with information and support to navigate and access the NDIS funded and mainstream services they need to secure appropriate housing and support. Aged care workers and assessors have access to concise, quality information about the NDIS and the potential benefits to people under 65 that are co-designed by young people in aged care.

Primary health

NDIS participants with complex needs have access to quality health services that proactively manage health conditions and reduce illness, hospitalisations and re-entry to aged care.

A collaborative approach

The Summer Foundation collaborates with other organisations, government, people with disability and their families to achieve this. Supporting, informing and empowering people with disability and their families is critical to resolving the issue of young people in aged care. We strive for innovation by collaborating to create positive change.

Our history

The Summer Foundation was established in 2006 by Di Winkler, an occupational therapist who has worked with people with severe brain injury for more than 20 years.

The early work of the Summer Foundation focused on understanding the experience of young people forced to live in aged care and growing a body of evidence to support the need for systemic change.

We support the disability, health and aged care systems to work more effectively with younger people in nursing homes. We have prototyped effective housing alternatives to aged care for younger people with disability. We support people with disability and their families to share their stories and empower others to avoid or leave aged care.

We also develop practice guides, training materials and new models for government and non-government organisations to work together to resolve this issue. We undertake academic and applied research to make sure there is a strong evidence base for what works.

Summer Housing

In 2017, we decided that the replication and scaling of our housing demonstration projects would be best implemented by a dedicated organisation that focuses on the ‘bricks and mortar’ of housing projects. So we established Summer Housing, a not-for-profit sister organisation to the Summer Foundation. Summer Housing is separate to the Summer Foundation, with an independent Board and staff, but the 2 organisations continue to collaborate.

The way we work

The Summer Foundation uses a range of tools and develops resources to change human service policy and practice related to young people in aged care.
Click here to read more about the way we work

Housing Hub

The Housing Hub is a website the Summer Foundation launched in August 2017 to connect people with disability to suitable housing.

Housing providers from anywhere in Australia can list their properties on the Housing Hub. Listings include existing SDA properties, new SDA builds, non-SDA supported accommodation, private rental and properties for sale.

The Housing Hub also hosts a library of useful information for housing seekers and housing providers.

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