Communications, Author at Summer Foundation
Group 3

Hospital patients wait to be discharged in NDIS ‘bed block’

Source: Herald Sun – Jade Gailberger

Taxpayers are paying tens of millions of dollars for healthy patients who are stranded in Victorian public hospital beds due to a bureaucratic mess.

Read More


In research by the Summer Foundation and La Trobe University, participants revealed that their relationship with the NDIA needs repairing – most had lost confidence and trust in the NDIA. Many recognised that they can’t opt out of this relationship, so with the appointment of a new government, many participants are optimistic that the time may be right for an honest dialogue between all parties about the future of the NDIS. 

Outcomes and Experiences of People with Disability Moving into New Housing

What is the study about?

The aim of this research project is to help us better understand the individual experiences and outcomes of people with disability who move into Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) in the community. This project involves collecting information from interviews and questionnaires with tenants and those close to them pre-move and at regular intervals up to 3 years post-move.

Why are we doing this study?

We are doing this research to find out more about the experiences and outcomes of people with disability who move into appropriately designed housing within the community. We are interested in finding out what works well and what could be improved so that we can inform the development of future housing and services. Our research will document the lived experience and impact of new housing developments for young people with disability and help to shape innovative housing models in the future.

Who do we want to take part?

Taking part in this research study is optional. We are looking for people who:

  • Are aged 18-65
  • Have disability. Primary disabilities include (but are not limited to): Acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s, other neurological conditions
  • Have an offer of an SDA house or apartment and/or have been living in SDA for up to 6 months
  • Speak/understand English
  • Have adequate communication skills to independently agree to participate. Adequate communication skills means using a variety of ways to communicate including verbal or written communication, verbal prompts, repetition and rephrasing of information or augmentative communication devices

How can I get involved in this research?

If you are interested in participating in this study, please complete the form below or email
Dr Stephanie Liddicoat at

A Summer Foundation Research Team member will then contact you to explain the project in more detail and, if you are interested in participating, arrange a time for an initial interview.

To be eligible to participate in the study, you will have to independently agree to participate. After written consent is obtained, you will be considered part of the research project. All the information you provide during interviews will be de-identified and assigned a unique code. 

  • By completing this form, you give us permission to contact you about potential research projects. It does not commit you to participating in specific projects, but is simply an expression of interest.
  • Having trouble completing this form? Please call us on 1300 626 560 or email us at
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Housing Hub wants to help people with disability find the right home. To do this, we want to make sure people have access to all the information they need. We host free events and online learning packages to help give people information about NDIS Housing Options.

In 2021 the Summer Foundation held a series of workshops and interviews with on-site support providers, specialist disability accommodation (SDA) providers, and tenants living in SDA apartments. Preliminary findings from the workshops were published in May 2022, and the main findings were that there is scope for service redesign and innovation to improve the quality and efficiency of support.

This discussion paper draws on the evidence provided by a series of workshops and interviews with on-site support providers, specialist disability accommodation (SDA) providers, and tenants living in SDA apartments.

It documents the perspectives of tenants, SDA providers and OSS providers on co-located single occupancy SDA. It looks at the key challenges and benefits, and identifies potential solutions to improve the consistency, quality and cost effectiveness of the disability supports delivered to tenants living in these dwellings.

We are seeking input from support providers for improving the preliminary report and recommendations. Please contact by 30 June 2022. 

Rachel speaks about her experience of waiting for SDA and the impact that it had on her life.

Read More

Dr George Taleporos is back with a new episode of Reasonable & Necessary, where he meets NDIS participant Leila Bowheen who has been stuck in hospital for almost a year, waiting for housing and support. We also talk to Adam Horsburgh, CEO at the Austin Hospital for his take on the problem and how it can be solved.

Why are so many people stuck in hospital waiting for NDIS decisions?

You can download and listen to the audio version on SoundCloud, iTunes (Apple Podcasts) or Spotify.  

Download transcript

Source: Disability Support Guide – Anna Christian

Thousands of people with disability are waiting far too long for approval for the housing they need, causing stress and impacting their health, the members of a new campaign say.

The Down to 10 Days campaign launched this week and aims to have the wait of up to 18 months for housing approval under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) cut to ten days to protect the health and wellbeing of people with disability.

The Canberra Times – Dan Jervis-Bardy (Picture: Elesa Kurtz)

The Morrison government is under pressure to end the bureaucratic delays being blamed for confining NDIS participants to hospital beds or forcing them into aged care homes. 

A coalition of housing, health and disability groups has launched a pre-election campaign calling on the National Disability Insurance Agency to dramatically speed up decisions about funding for supported accommodation.

Paulene shares her experience of moving from aged care into her own SDA apartment in the Summer Foundation Annual Report.

In this episode of Reasonable & Necessary, George is speaking with Therese Clark from Barwon Health to find out how people with disability (PWD) can access free rapid antigen tests (RAT) through the Victorian Government Disability Liaison Officer service.

The Summer Foundation is pleased to support the Australian Disability Strategy 2021-2031. The Strategy, launched today on the Disability Gateway, prioritises the commitment to improve the lives of people with disability by all governments – Australian, state, territory and local.

Today is United Nations International Day of People with Disabilities. Today promotes understanding of disability issues and supports the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people with disability now and in the future. The theme of today is, “leadership and participation of persons with disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid-19-world”. 

Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston said ‘People with disability deserve to have the same as any other person and this ten year framework sets out our priorities as a nation for the 4.4 million Australians who live with disability’. The Australian Government is supporting the Australian Disability Strategy with an investment of $250 million.

The Strategy aims to improve the lives of people with disability across 6 priority outcome areas. 

  • Employment and financial security
  • Inclusive homes and communities
  • Safety, rights and justice
  • Personal and community support
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Community attitudes

The Summer Foundation focuses on supporting people with disability with complex support needs and works to ensure no younger person under the age of 65 is forced to live in aged care. The Australian Disability Strategy aims to increase the availability of affordable housing, ensure housing is accessible and that people with disability have choice and control about where they live, who they live with and how they live. Additionally, that people with disability can access the supports they need to live well, delivered in a way which best meets their individual needs. 

The rights of people with disability must be promoted upheld and protected. We are pleased to see this as a central principal of the Australian Disability Strategy. 

The Strategy re-establishes Australia’s commitment to people with disability and provides the vision for an inclusive Australian society that ensures people with disability can fulfil their potential, as equal members of the community. 

The Summer Foundation would like to see the implementation of the Strategy drive opportunities for people with disability, to lead and direct the achievement of outcomes, and play a significant role in shaping the success of the Strategy. The Strategy endeavours to facilitate greater community participation for people with disability and provide the opportunity to ensure they can decide how they live their lives. It is important that adequate funding continues to be provided to support the achievement of the Strategy over the next 10 years. 

Meet Jono. Jono’s journey to SDA has taught him you have to fight not only for what you require but also for what you deserve. Read about his housing journey in the Summer Foundation Annual Report.

The Housing Hub invites you to a free workshop to learn about Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

Are you a person with disability who has NDIS funding?  Would you like to have your say about the quality and costs of your NDIS supports?

The Summer Foundation and La Trobe University are seeking your expert knowledge for a study on NDIS participant views on the quality and costs of NDIS supports.  This research will be used to inform policy makers and others on the insights NDIS participants have about their funding.

The research team would like to talk to people who:

●  Self-manage their NDIS funding OR

●  Live in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) OR

●  Live or have lived in a group home and receive Supported Independent Living (SIL)

We would like to talk to you about your experiences. It will take about an hour and you will receive a $40 gift voucher to recognise your contribution. 

If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study:
Please email Gina on or text/call on 0499 333 105

If you have any further questions, please contact Professor Jacinta Douglas at or phone: 1300 626 560.

Not-for-profit organisation, the Summer Foundation, has today launched the UpSkill Provider Directory, a searchable online directory of support coordinators and allied health professionals with the skills and experience to assist  people with complex support  needs to live well in the community.

The platform, made possible by funding partner Gandel Philanthropy, also provides eligible professionals with a way of showcasing their services to potential clients free of charge.

People with disability, families and others who assist them will be able to search the directory for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support coordinators and allied health professionals in their area. 

Summer Foundation Head of Government Relations and Policy, Amelia Condi, said the UpSkill Provider Directory will enable NDIS participants with complex support needs to connect with a network of experienced support coordinators with the right skills to support participants to navigate the NDIS service system.

“Our focus for the UpSkill Provider Directory over the coming months is to build listings – it will continue to grow and evolve as more support coordinators and health professionals come on board,” Ms Condi said.  

The directory is the newest tool in the Summer Foundation’s UpSkill program, which delivers training,  capacity building and professional development to support coordinators and NDIS allied health professionals across the country. These professionals are integral in supporting people with complex support needs to achieve good outcomes and live well in the community.

Support coordinators and NDIS allied health professionals who have completed UpSkill training are eligible to create a profile on the directory. They are also eligible to join the UpSkill Community of Practice, a networking platform for members to troubleshoot barriers and inspire each other to think innovatively and share information, ideas and practices.

Gandel Philanthropy Chief Executive Officer, Vedran Drakulic OAM said: “From alternative housing demonstration projects to building workforce capability through UpSkill, the Summer Foundation has been at the forefront of innovative strategies to prevent younger people with disability from languishing in aged care.

“The UpSkill Provider Directory will offer vital online connections and supports so that every young person with disability can choose where they live and who they live with.”

To learn more about UpSkill and to access the UpSkill Provider Directory, refer to the Summer Foundation’s UpSkill program web page.

Source: Pro Bono | Author: Sabina Curatolo and Di Winkler

A new industry report on investment funds in the specialist disability accommodation market highlights the need for greater government oversight to increase investor confidence, write Di Winkler and Sabina Curatolo.

Representatives from the Summer Foundation and investment industry leaders – all members of a recently established Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Investor Think Tank –  have welcomed the Federal Government’s supportive response to their collective views about the future of the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) market.

A group of investment fund managers, philanthropic investors and supporting organisations met with the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Linda Reynolds, and National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) representatives as part of Minister Reynolds’ SDA Roundtable last Friday to discuss what needs to be done to drive the next phase of the SDA market’s development.

Minister Reynolds described the Think Tank report as a “great piece of work” with sensible recommendations. After reviewing and discussing the report at the Roundtable, Minister Reynolds outlined a plan to get further input prior to getting endorsement to implement solutions. 

The Summer Foundation appreciates Minister Reynolds’ commitment to listening and working with Think Tank members and SDA Roundtable to develop and implement joint solutions.

SDA is the most significant impact investment opportunity in Australia today and represents a solution to a disability accommodation problem the government cannot solve on its own. However, the rapid growth of the SDA market has outstripped the evolution of government infrastructure causing some instability in the market.

The Summer Foundation established the SDA Investor Think Tank in mid 2021, in collaboration with a group of investment fund managers, to consider how the market could best be supported through the next growth stage. This work built on the SDA Explainer for Investors which included a survey of investors.

The SDA Think Tank, which includes investment fund managers, who have collectively invested nearly $650 million in the SDA market produced the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Investor Think Tank Findings and Recommendations report which identifies issues and opportunities that require collective attention to help achieve market maturity.

Recommendations outlined in the report centre around improving market engagement and signalling  as well as optimising the demand and supply pipeline.

Think Tank contributors hope the findings and recommendations in the report will support NDIA stewardship of the SDA market, provide a platform for collaboration and help build confidence among market players.

The meeting comes at a time when the sustainability of the NDIS is the focus of conversation. requiring review by the government as rising costs are placing significant pressure on the Scheme. The SDA market has the potential to leverage $5-$12 billion of private capital to address the unmet demand for housing and the redevelopment of old stock that is reaching the end of its useful life. An estimated two thirds of disability housing stock built before 2016 needs to be rebuilt or completely refurbished because it does not meet contemporary standards.

SDA funding is intended for 28,000 NDIS participants, up to 30,000 by 2025, with extreme functional impairment for whom mainstream housing is not an option. It is anticipated an additional 12,000 SDA homes will be required in the near future. 

The commitment to working towards a sophisticated SDA market is welcome news for NDIS participants who qualify for SDA funding and those waiting to have their applications considered. Emerging evidence from research by the Summer Foundation and La Trobe University has found significant improvements in wellbeing and community participation for people living in SDA. 

The commitment from Minister Reynolds also reaffirms that effective collaboration is essential in an emerging market in order to meet the needs of the government, the NDIA, participants, providers and investors. Everyone benefits if the SDA market reaches its full potential – participants access appropriate housing, investors and providers are able to offer housing which enables positive outcomes, and the government leverages private capital that helps to achieve NDIS sustainability.

You can access the full Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Investor Think Tank Findings and Recommendations report below.  

A shortened version of the recommendations outlined in the report are provided below:

SDA Investor Think Tank Recommendations

Think Tank members are hopeful that the findings and recommendations in the SDA Investor Think Tank Findings and Recommendations report will support NDIA stewardship of the SDA market, provide a platform for collaboration, and help build confidence among market players.

Members have recommended that the NDIA should take the following actions:

1. Work with SDA stakeholders to develop a Stakeholder Engagement Framework that articulates a platform for open communication. 

2. Make a senior appointment with primary responsibility for SDA market stewardship, which would be the key point of engagement between the Agency and market players. 

3. Release a quarterly SDA Market Statement to provide guidance that supports informed decision-making by market players. 

4. Develop the capability and systems needed to routinely release detailed and timely demand data that includes:

  • A forecast of the total expected demand for SDA, including design categories
  • The number of participants seeking SDA determinations and what types of SDA match their needs
  • Assumptions behind the modelling for the annual budget for SDA

5. Undertake a demand activation campaign to support awareness among SDA-eligible participants, including by:

  • Identifying SDA-eligible people on the NDIS database
  • Contacting SDA-eligible people and providing capacity building on housing options so participants can outline their housing needs and preferences

6. Implement a plan to eliminate the backlog of decisions under review and appeals. Resolving this issue will lead to a decrease in financial pressures for some SDA providers, and increased market confidence.

7. Increase the transparency and consistency of SDA eligibility determinations by:

  • Publishing plain language guides on SDA eligibility
  • Defining the decision-making processes for SDA and associated supports, including details of decision-makers and timeframes
  • Committing to decision timeframes and releasing performance reports on adherence to timeframes

8. Commission an independent review of the costs of SDA and associated supports to ensure assumptions about relationships between Supported Independent Living (SIL) and SDA are evidence-based.

G’day people, 

My name is Greg and I’m 51. I have been living with a brain injury since I was 18 years old. I suffered this brain injury when I was on my way home from work. You can watch my story here

Everybody says “it will never happen to me” and that’s what I used to say. You can acquire a brain injury in many different ways. We are all individuals. As you can see, life for me is a struggle and it hasn’t all been kicks and giggles. Before my accident I was a bit of a lair. Since my brain injury, I’ve been trying to prove the doctors wrong. They told me I’d never walk, speak or sit up again. Well I’ve proved them wrong as I am out and about sitting up in my wheelchair. I can also speak clearly now. My next goal is to walk and I will not give up until my toes are pointing to the sky.

Having seen life from both sides of the wheelchair, I can say people can be so careless or cruel because they don’t understand. People need to understand. Brain Injury Awareness Week is important.

Don’t think less of me, don’t think less of us because we have a brain injury – we are ‘above average!’

Stay up to date with all our news and information. Click on the button below to
sign up and receive our news update 4 times a year.

The Summer Foundation welcomes the announcements made by Minister Reynolds on Friday 9 July 2021 advising the outcomes of the Disability Ministers’ Meeting.

Read More

The first night Wendy spent in her new apartment, she cried tears of joy.

“It hit me just how lucky I was to have a home like this,” Wendy says.

Wendy moved into her spectacular new apartment in February this year. It has amazing views and immaculate styling, and is just minutes away from Westfield Doncaster. It is everything Wendy hoped for.

Wendy’s story is featured on the Housing Hub website.

Sign up to be involved in upcoming research projects.

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) CEO Martin Hoffman has opened up about where the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is heading in an exclusive interview with Summer Foundation Policy Manager and disability advocate, Dr George Taleporos.

Read More

Summer Foundation is pleased with the recent announcement from the Minister for NDIS, Senator the Hon Minister Reynolds CSC and National Cabinet to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to all NDIS participants and carers. 

Read More

By Emma Gee

Working together, collaboration, teamwork and co-design – all buzz words around how outcomes can be improved when there is a team approach. At the Summer Foundation, people with lived experience of disability inform our work through sharing their experience and providing their insights. We work with people with a range of experiences who enrich projects’ outcomes and ensure our work is relevant and informed.

As a person living with disability, I feel sharing your experience can lead to feelings of empowerment and inclusion. I have spoken with 3 of our supporters about what impact sharing their story has had on them…

James Nutt, a keen advocate and sports lover, has shared his experience of acquiring his brain injury, being forced to live in a nursing home and going on his journey to find suitable housing. A highlight of his contributions was speaking at a hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

This feeling of empowerment is also noted by another contributor to the work of the Summer Foundation, Helen Burt. Helen is a passionate advocate with Multiple Sclerosis who now lives independently in an SDA apartment. Among other opportunities, Helen spoke about her experience at the Summer Foundation Annual Public Forum. She says:

“It’s a relief…It’s really good to have your opinion valued…
It was just an enormous relief to have the opportunity to speak and to think that people were going to hear what you had to say.”

Similarly, after years of feeling ignored when advocating fiercely for her son Trevor, who has cerebral palsy and now lives independently in SDA, Linda created a series of digital clips to inform other people going through a similar journey to find housing: “It’s a relief to be heard, listened to, valued ..”.

When people share their lived experience, they can inform and help others going through a similar journey. Linda explains that it is: “…liberating for me to go through something I never thought would happen in my lifetime and then to be able to help others along this journey – give them hope that it is possible.”

James also speaks about the domino-effect sharing his story has on others. He says that by sharing his experience about moving into his own place others “…have an understanding of how it feels, maybe if they read about my experience, they might decide that they can do it too.”

Helen says how “satisfying” it is working together within a team, knowing that she can contribute in a positive way to help others with disability and make the voice of, particularly those younger people in aged care, heard”. 

I feel working with others and sharing my own lived experience enables me to meaningfully contribute to empower and enrich mine and others’ lives. For me, creativity is sparked, problems seem to be better understood and addressed. What’s more, new opportunities to contribute and create positive change are generated. Similarly, by working with others in a collaborative manner, Helen, Linda and James also appear to reap so many benefits.  

Please make contact with us if you would like to share your experience. We would love to hear from you.

Contact us at or call or text Gina on 0499 333 105.

The Summer Foundation  will launch Welcome Home, our compliance education package for registered providers of specialist disability accommodation (SDA) on 10 May 2021.

Our SDA Quality & Safeguards Project Manager Rosie Beaumont, said the package was designed to help SDA providers understand their obligations under the SDA Practice Standards and explore a rights-based approach to service delivery.

The free package of compliance education resources provides a comprehensive explanation of the SDA Practice Standards and includes 6 training modules, management tools, factsheets, policy guides, videos and podcasts.

The topics covered include:

  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Conflict of interest
  • Service agreements
  • Enrolment of SDA properties
  • Tenancy management

The Welcome Home package will be available for  self-paced learning on the Summer Foundation’s soon-to-be launched  online training platform, Summer Learning.

Rosie said a series of Welcome Home webinars will be rolled out from June this year, giving  SDA providers the opportunity to discuss a rights-based approach to service delivery and how well common management practices align with  the SDA Practice Standards.

To register to access the Welcome Home education package, please click here

This project is funded by the Support for NDIS Providers Program, administered by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

enter quote here

The key recommendations relating to younger people with disability, outlined in the newly released final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission, have been warmly welcomed by the Summer Foundation, Youngcare and Synapse. 

Read More

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is well placed to meet a rising demand for impact investment products in Australia, according to the Summer Foundation’s newly released SDA Explainer for Investors.

In recent years, impact investing – investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return – has started to attract the attention of investment banks, super funds and private sector investors.

Summer Foundation CEO, Dr Di Winkler, said there has been a significant progression from impact investment being primarily for philanthropists with an interest in a particular area or sector, to it being seen as a viable option for mainstream investment banks, super funds and private sector investors.

“One of the limiting factors for the growth of impact investment in Australia is the lack of products that have the capacity for investment at scale – the SDA market is well positioned to leverage this private capital,” Dr Winkler said.

“SDA is still somewhat of an unknown quantity for some investors.”

“The SDA Explainer provides a succinct analysis of the SDA demand and supply outlook and investment principles to support investors considering SDA investment opportunities.

“These principles relate to the properties, the quality of the new dwellings, the tenant selection process, disability support and ensuring that the investment is set up for a long term positive social impact.”

What impact investors need to know about SDA

  • Since the commencement of the SDA market in 2017, there has been a steady increase in the growth of SDA supply. The most significant growth has been in the number of dwellings for people with high physical support needs with a four-fold increase. However, there is still a need for new dwellings for at least 19,000 people given the unmet demand and the need to redevelop or reconfigure most of the SDA built before 2016.
  • A recent desktop scan of investment opportunities found 32 entities raising funds to build new SDA. Some of the advertised returns were unrealistic. Only a small group of funds were investing in SDA at scale. The findings of this study demonstrate the level of interest and momentum generated by the SDA market.
  • A recent survey of active SDA investors provided valuable insights into the SDA market. Although there were only 9 participants, together they had provided $700 million to 13 SDA providers to house over 1,200 NDIS participants. This survey found that at this stage, the SDA market is suited to sophisticated investors with a substantial portfolio looking to diversify and interested in a long- term investment with stable returns and a social impact.
  • As with any developing market and new asset class, potential investors need to do a significant amount of research to understand the risks and returns associated with each specific investment opportunity and the risks associated with the market as a whole.

Dr Winkler said that SDA, as an emerging market, has enormous potential to provide both long-term stable returns to investors, while also meeting the housing needs of people with disability.

The Summer Foundation SDA Explainer for Investors has been published on the Summer Foundation website.

The Summer Foundation 2020 Annual Public Forum was held as an online event on Thursday, 12 November, with around 300 attendees joining us via Zoom. Watch the highlights video here.

Led by Host, Beverley O’Connor (ABC News 24), our panel of policy makers, sector experts and people with lived experience of disability and contributors were able to share and discuss the positive life-changing impacts of SDA as well as some of the barriers and challenges being faced by many along the journey to SDA. We also explored what is being done to make SDA a possibility for many more people with disability.

Thank you to all who submitted questions during the forum. Some of these questions were able to be addressed directly by our panellists during the Q & A session. All have now been answered and are available for review below:


Watch the full video here:

This information was correct at the time of the event recording, but is subject to change. For information about the NDIS, please visit the website for the most up to date information.