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Mandatory building standards would ensure senior housing needs are met

Source: Australian Ageing Agenda  |  Author: Di Winkler

Our ageing population demands more accessible housing, writes Dr Di Winkler.

The final report from the royal commission into aged care will be released this week. This report will show that institutional housing for the elderly is not working and include a range of measures to address the neglect they have found.

Source: Probono Australia  |  Author: Di Winkler and Peter Mulherin

Only a mandatory approach to accessibility standards will future-proof Australia’s housing for coming generations, and cater to the demands of an ageing population, write Dr Di Winkler and Dr Peter Mulherin outlining the Building Better Homes Campaign.

The Summer Foundation and La Trobe University are conducting national surveys of people with a mobility impairment and occupational therapists (OTs) about housing accessibility features.

We are aiming to get input from:

  • People with a mobility impairment (including seniors and people with a mobility-related disability) 
  • OTs who conduct home visits pre-hospital discharge or to assess the suitability of homes for seniors wanting to age in place

The studies involve a brief online survey to understand the importance of accessibility features in new Australia housing.

If you are a person with a mobility impairment or an OT and would like to participate, please follow the links below for more information and to access the survey.

By completing the survey and sharing your lived or professional expertise, you will help ensure that future Australian homes better meet the needs of all people. The surveys will be open from 8 February to 19 February.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Phone: 03 9894 7006 or email: research@summerfoundation.org.au

Source: ProBono  |  Author: Dr Di Winkler and Alecia Rathbone

People with high or complex disability support needs have traditionally had extremely limited options when it comes to finding somewhere to live. The growing specialist disability accommodation market is beginning to change that, write Dr Di Winkler and Alecia Rathbone.

Source: The Guardian  |  Author: Caro Llewellyn

My childhood was spent navigating my father’s disability. Then I was told I was facing the possibility of life in a wheelchair myself. The thing about disability is it usually doesn’t only affect the person living it. It changes the lives of children, parents, friends and partners.

Source: Pro Bono  |  Author: Dr Di Winker & Dr Peter Mulherin

Dr Di Winkler and Dr Peter Mulherin explain the Specialist Disability Accommodation market and why disability housing is well placed to leverage the private capital available through impact investment.

The Summer Foundation is pleased to welcome 2 new Board members, as part of an active Board renewal process designed to strengthen the diversity, strategic capacity and breadth of expertise on the Summer Foundation Board of Directors.

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Source: Australian Ageing Agenda  |  Author: Amelia Condi

There’s support for aged care providers as they transition to NDIS and start providing more choice and control for people with disability, writes Amelia Condi.

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Today, Paulene sits comfortably in her new Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) apartment overlooking the city. “I feel free, just so beautiful, I feel like I’m on top of the world…. I can make my own decisions now I’m my own person”.

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Recommendations presented today by the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Senior Counsel Assisting, Peter Rozen QC, relating to younger people in aged care, have been warmly welcomed by Youngcare, the Summer Foundation and Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance. 

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Source: Probono Australia  |  Author: Di Winkler

Dr Di Winkler AM, CEO and founder of the Summer Foundation, takes a look at the new Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy and reflects on what success will look like.

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About SDA Information Sessions are being delivered online around Queensland and Western Australia to assist housing providers gain a better understanding of housing options available to NDIS participants including Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

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Without effective support coordination it can be difficult for people with high and complex needs to avoid or exit aged care, the Summer Foundation said in its response to the NDIA’s Support Coordination Discussion Paper.

We welcomed the review as an important opportunity to address significant problems people with high and complex needs experience in accessing adequate and timely support coordination.

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It’s a particularly exciting time for me as the Summer Foundation starts the next stage of our journey to ensure people with disability have access to the support they need to control where they live and who they live with.

Our Board has just signed off on the strategy that we expect will see the Summer Foundation achieve its purpose in 5 years. The main change to the strategy that has driven us in the past is the formal addition of “lived experience” as one of our tools.

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Our Research Team has been very busy lately with the publication of several journal articles including literature reviews on young people in aged care, outcomes of moving to individualised housing and the use of smart home technology.

You can read the articles on our website here.

Since being set up as part of the Summer Foundation’s response to COVID-19, the Housing Brokerage Service (HBS) has grown and developed. 

We created the team as a COVID response to use the knowledge and expertise in the organisation to help in the emergency situation we all found ourselves in, but the demand and outcomes have been so positive that we are going to continue until at least December 2020, and possibly even longer,” said Project Lead Cath Bucolo.

The HBS works with NDIS participants with complex needs who are ready for discharge but are often stuck in hospital waiting for an appropriate housing option to be found. 

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All new housing should be accessible for everyone – that’s the message in the Summer Foundation’s recent submission to the Australian Building Codes Board.

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The Summer Foundation Board welcomed new member Dean Ireland at its August meeting.

Dean has been a long-time supporter of the Summer Foundation, particularly the work of the Housing Hub team, and is on the housing advisory committee.

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The Housing Hub team has this year supported 200 young people with disability and complex support needs to move in to their own SDA apartments.

One of these is Gretta, a 29-year-old who has recently moved into a new SDA apartment in the Sydney suburb of Penrith.

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The new Housing Hub is already proving to be a great success – in its first 3 weeks it saw 52 housing seeker profiles added, 309 housing seeker sign ups and 581 inquiries to providers.

The Housing Hub website is the place for people with disability to find the home that is just right, and for housing providers to connect with people looking for accessible housing.

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The Summer Foundation has welcomed the Federal Government’s new funding and strategy to reduce the number of younger people living in aged care.

The release of the Young People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) Strategy and funding boost is another positive step towards achieving the government’s targets supporting young people to find appropriate housing that suits their needs, said the Summer Foundation’s Head of Government Relations and Policy, Amelia Condi.

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As we navigate what’s happening in the world around us we are faced with new challenges, but also new opportunities. We have been planning a number of initiatives in recent months that we are excited to start rolling out. 

You will be seeing more opportunities to get involved, including a pilot project designed to develop tools that will help people find a new home, and also inform the future of our work. We will be inviting people to contribute so stay tuned for updates.

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Emma Gee is part of our new lived experience team. 

With a background as an occupational therapist and then surviving a stroke at the age of 24, I hope that I can share my experiences as a provider and recipient to further humanise the incredible work that the Summer Foundation already delivers,” Emma said. 

In my role, I hope to develop and deliver resources, services, policies and processes that are informed and shaped by people with lived experience.” 

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If you are a person with an acquired neurological disability, a close other with an acquired neurological disability, or a disability support worker, we want to hear your views about the factors that influence the quality of paid disability support. 

We will be facilitating online focus groups and 1:1 interviews to discuss your experiences and perspectives. If you are interested in participating, please email research@summerfoundation.org.au and we will tell you more about the project.

We are running a study to investigate the role of support coordinators and how they can effectively assist people with disability and complex needs who are enrolled in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This research is essential because the role of the support coordinator has changed with the implementation of the NDIS, making it challenging to find skilled and experienced support coordinators.

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The new ‘Call-to-Test’ COVID-19 service is a topic of discussion for many people with disability at the moment.

This free service is for people in metropolitan Melbourne, who have COVID-19 symptoms but cannot leave home due to injury or mobility problems. To access this service, a referral to a GP is needed from a telehealth consultation.

Once you have a referral you can call the 1800 675 398 hotline.

A nurse will visit your home within 48 hours of the service receiving the GP referral. You will be encouraged to remain in isolation for a few days until the results are given to you.

Gina, a Summer Foundation Program Officer in our Lived Experience Team interviewed some people with disability in our network about their experience of this new ‘Call-to-Test’ Procedure.

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Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

Written by: Belinda Aitkens, Summer Foundation Lived Experience Facilitator


Over the past six weeks, the Summer Foundation has been presenting online Housing Options workshops for people with a disability in Tasmania and their families. I was pleased to be a facilitator at these workshops. Up until now, people with a disability in Tasmania have mainly had the traditional options for housing, such as group homes or having to live with family; but not anymore.

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“Smile Em,” my sister instructs from behind her camera.

I’m sitting fully masked (posing as directed) with my nieces and nephew standing at the required COVID distance.

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Welcome to our winter update. 

Over the past 3 months the Summer Foundation team has worked hard to provide tangible, direct support to people with disability and complex needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia in March the Summer Foundation responded rapidly with a raft of projects to provide tangible, direct support to people with disability and complex needs.

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The Summer Foundation’s program of training to hospital staff, support coordinators, housing seekers and other groups across the country hit a large bump in the road with the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

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The State Government recently changed its Hospital Visitor Directions to allow “a disability worker to enter or remain at a hospital for the purpose of providing a disability service to a patient with a disability”.

The change in policy came as a result of one of our storytellers, Sam Petersen working together with the Summer Foundation’s Policy Manager Dr George Taleporos, to drive change in this area.

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Over the past 18 months the Summer Foundation’s Leaving Hospital Well Project has built the capacity of Victoria’s health services to understand, navigate and develop best practice collaborative discharge under the NDIS.

The project delivered 93 training sessions to 2,000 participants within 20 Local Health Networks in Victoria. They included local health network staff, support coordinators, allied health and community health staff, GPs and housing providers.

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In NSW, around 2,000 younger people live in residential aged care, and many other people with disability live in homes that don’t suit their needs.

Our sister organisation, Summer Housing, is building Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) apartments that you can apply for now in Kirrawee, Westmead, Baulkham Hills, Sydney Olympic Park and Edmondson Park. Other organisations, such as Enliven Housing and Good Housing, are building great new SDA properties around Sydney too.

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If you are a person with an acquired neurological disability, a close other with an acquired neurological disability, or a disability support worker, we want to hear your views about the factors that influence the quality of paid disability support.

We will be facilitating online focus groups to discuss your experiences and perspectives. If you are interested in participating, please email research@summerfoundation.org.au and we will tell you more about the project.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made feeling and staying connected more important than ever before.

Our new Staying Connected web page is providing the opportunity for people with disability to share their stories.

You can visit the webpage to find out more here.

Summer Foundation storyteller Michelle has welcomed the opportunity to spend quality time with her family and to learn something new.

COVID-19 hasn’t really impacted me in a bad way and has actually been a lovely opportunity to spend quality time with my family. I have really missed my support workers though,” Michelle said.

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The Summer Foundation has worked with 2 of Australia’s largest providers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure people with disability can get PPE during COVID-19.

The 2 providers – RSEA Safety and Blackwoods – have each developed PPE online stores for NDIS participants.

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SDA participants across Australia recently welcomed much-anticipated changes to the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Rules which will allow people with disability to share an SDA property with people not eligible for the NDIS or SDA, including their partner, children and friends.

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Personally, COVID-19 hasn’t really impacted me in a bad way and has actually been a lovely opportunity to spend quality time with my family. I have really missed my support workers though, as they have not been able to come to my home during this time.

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Source: ABC News  |  Reporter: Baz Ruddick

It sounds like a simple thing for most of us — an independent life, living in a house that is set up for our purpose.

But that is not the case for thousands of people living with disabilities. Finding a house fit for their needs is not always so simple.

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Q: What has been your biggest concern during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Staying COVID-free mainly… Especially in a household where we have support workers coming and going. Luckily I have a great team of women supporting me who understand that keeping me safe means keeping themselves and their families safe too. As long as everybody is doing their part to do that, we can prevent the spread amongst ourselves and our loved ones.

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State Trustees Australia Foundation has allocated $25,000 to the Summer Foundation as part of the 2020 Community Inclusion grant round.

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Q: What has been your biggest concern during the COVID-19 pandemic?

My biggest worry is getting COVID-19, because I have no idea and no control over who people who come into my home are mixing with outside my home. I worry someone will have come into contact with COVID-19 and then I will get it. It was really difficult to get masks, gloves or hand sanitiser.

Q: Why is having easy access to PPE important to you?

Because it hard to access anything especially PPE. PPE protects me from catching COVID-19 and I feel safer when people are at least wearing masks when they are in close contact with me.

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Source: SBS News

Sam Petersen is one of many Australians living with disability who has difficulties accessing personal protective equipment, such as face masks. As Australia prepares to lift restrictions, she’s concerned people with disabilities are being left behind.

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The Summer Foundation has joined forces with 2 of Australia’s largest providers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – RSEA Safety and Blackwoods – to launch 2 online stores offering PPE for people with disability. 

The online stores will supply reasonably priced gloves, gowns, surgical masks, face shields, hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes, and will be accessible to NDIS participants from today.

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The Summer Foundation has decided to reconsider options for all upcoming events in response to the continuing spread of Covid-19. Watch our website for updates.

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We are in the midst of a unique crisis that poses a particularly significant threat to the lives of people with disability and complex needs. Many of the people we support are already susceptible to chest infections and pneumonia because of their limited mobility. COVID-19 makes this threat considerably greater when people are stuck in hospital.

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These are challenging and uncertain times for all due to the continuing spread of COVID-19. 

We are changing the way we work to help ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone that we work with. 

The entire team is now working from home and we are working hard to deliver many of our planned face-to-face events online. See our events page for details.

While our staff are now working from home we continue to be available to support you. You can contact us via email.


Our existing and on-going relevant projects include:

For hospital staff working with people with disability being discharged to the community:

For housing providers, housing seekers and the people supporting them:

For support coordinators and allied health professionals supporting people with disability and complex needs living in the community:


The NDIA has also created an information page to help prepare and support NDIS participants and providers at this time.