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Push for NSW and WA to join national accessible building code to future-proof housing for ageing population

Source: ABC The World Today – Alison Xiao

Disability support advocates have told ABC News that national accessibility design standards aimed at improving accessibility for people living with disability could also enable older people to live at home for longer.

New research released by the Summer Foundation found that the construction sector is optimistic about implementing accessible designs. “The features we’re talking about are not a big ask and we’ll just end up with better quality housing that is future-proof,” said the Summer Foundation CEO, Dr Di Winkler.

Peak representative bodies must provide more training for builders and architects, and the distribution of consistent resources and practical guidance for industry members.

“It’s things like case studies, and exemplars of accessible design, including drawings and templates, lists of compliant products and suppliers, and then workshops, professional development opportunities, and just how-to materials,” Dr Winkler said.

Source: The Conversation – Di Winkler and Jacinta Douglas

The Summer Foundation CEO, Dr Di Winkler and La Trobe University’s Professor Jacinta Douglas ask questions around the NDIS Review recommendations in their latest article for The Conversation Australia + NZ. Specifically, they raise questions around how potential reforms could risk taking away choice and control from people with disability and raises the possibility they may be denied the option of choosing where they live, and with whom.

While some of the proposed legislation will see improvements for people with disability, there are risks with some recommendations.

“Policy makers have wrongly assumed people with disability need to live together for there to be efficiencies in the system and their supports… Forcing NDIS participants to share with others instead of allowing single-occupancy dwellings located together has the potential to drive up support costs and perpetuate violence and abuse.”

The current housing and support model does not incentivise disability support providers to support people to become more independent or establish a user-driven market. Better data around housing and support needs and preferences would inform NDIS policy to incentivise new user-led services.

Source: latrobe.edu.au

La Trobe University has announced its 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, which includes the Summer Foundation’s CEO and founder Dr Di Winkler AM, who was recognised for her work in reframing how we consider housing for people with a disability.

Di established the Summer Foundation in 2006 after becoming frustrated by the lack of appropriate housing and support for young people with disability. She completed her PhD in 2012 on the topic of Younger People Living in Nursing Homes.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are one of the highest honours bestowed by La Trobe University and are selected annually from a community of more than 260,000 graduates.

The 7 recipients were awarded in a ceremony hosted by the Chancellor, the Hon. John Brumby AO, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Theo Farrell.

Source: ABC News – Evan Young and Nas Campanella

It’s been 3 months since the NDIS Review called for a total rethink of disability support in Australia.

ABC News have today reported on the draft legislation unveiled by federal government. The draft legislation addresses priority recommendations from the NDIS Review and represents the first of the policy and system amendments to improve NDIS participant experience, with a focus on access, plans and budget settings, and quality and safety.

Government has stressed reforms won’t happen right away or without more consultation. The ABC suggests the consultation period will last 18 months and any changes that result would be gradually rolled out over 5 years, as recommended by the NDIS Review.

Many improvements cannot take effect until further NDIS rules and legislative instruments are updated or made. It is critical that the Government partners with the disability community to design solutions that deliver good outcomes for people with disability and the scheme.

To quote from the NDIS Review final report, “Continuing the engagement is the only way to ensure the success of these reforms and to continue to rebuild trust.”

A new study by the Summer Foundation and La Trobe University brings the perspectives of people with acquired neurological disability, disability support workers, and close others of people with complex needs together to construct a holistic model of quality support grounded in lived experience.

It aimed to develop an understanding of the factors that influence the quality of paid disability support for adults with acquired neurological disability. People with acquired neurological disability experience a range of physical, cognitive, and communication impairments, and often require paid support provided by a disability support worker.

People with disability have the right to receive quality disability support to help them to live the life they want to live, and this ground-breaking study illuminates how we will get closer to this.

Read more here

According to the NDIS quarterly report released this morning, there were 1,433 NDIS participants under 65 living in residential aged care (RAC), as at 31 December 2023.

Solving the issue of young people in residential aged care (YPIRAC) requires targeted efforts to close the door to younger people entering aged care and supporting those currently in aged care to safely leave.

We welcome the proposed eligibility criteria for entry into the aged care system as outlined in the exposure draft for the Bill for the new Aged Care Act. This is a necessary measure in closing the door to younger people entering aged care.

However, more needs to be done to ensure younger people do not unnecessarily enter or get stuck in RAC.

Increased investment into other service sectors is also required to meet the needs of younger people. Younger people in, and at risk of RAC, must have access to a range of safe housing and living alternatives so they can exercise true choice and control over where they live.

Read the Summer Foundation’s submission on the exposure draft of the Bill for the new Aged Care Act.

The Hospital to Home service – previously offered by the Summer Foundation – will now be available through the Housing Hub.

Since 2020, the Hospital to Home service has supported over 300 people stuck in hospital to discharge and achieve their home and living preferences.

The service, which adopts a rights-based approach, is designed to:

  • Search for housing options for NDIS participants in hospital to support discharge
  • Prevent young people with disability being discharged to aged care
  • Assist health teams and supporters to understand the types of housing available, and the eligibility and evidence requirements

This service is philanthropically and government-funded, and is completely free to use.

To be eligible for the Hospital to Home service, a person must:

  • Be an inpatient in an acute or sub-acute hospital setting
  • Be an NDIS participant, or likely to be (ARF submitted)
  • Require support to find housing options in order to be discharged from hospital

Find out more here