Who we are

The Summer Foundation’s aim is to resolve the issue of young people living in nursing homes.




That young people with disability and complex care needs will have inherent value as members of our society with access to a range of housing and support options that enhance health, wellbeing and participation.


To create, lead and demonstrate long-term sustainable changes that stop young people from being forced to live in nursing homes because there is nowhere else for them.

Our focus

To achieve change in policy and practice in relation to young people in nursing homes, we are currently focussing on four strategic priority areas. Read more >

Our Annual Report details our recent efforts and achievements.


Our People

View profiles of our Board of Directors and key staff who help lead the Summer Foundation to achieve our mission.


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 twenty years.

Working as a therapist, Di became frustrated by the lack of appropriate housing options for people with disability. She often saw young people being discharged from hospital or rehabilitation settings to nursing homes. In 2005, Di started a PhD to change policy and practice around the issue of young people living in nursing homes. Di heard many family’s stories about their gruelling experiences with nursing homes, and decided that research alone was not going to be enough to resolve the issue. So in 2006, the Summer Foundation was formed.

The early work of the Summer Foundation focused on understanding the experience of young people forced to live in nursing homes 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.

As part of our work to resolve the issue of young people living in nursing homes, the Summer Foundation has been trialling an innovative housing solution that integrates smart home technology and good design with a support model designed to promote independence, all in well-located community settings.

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 will be separate to the Summer Foundation, with an independent Board and staff, but the two organisations will continue to collaborate on areas of common interest.
For more information on Summer Housing, visit www.summerhousing.org.au.