SF Updates Archives - Summer Foundation
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Welcome to our spring update

Big changes are needed for the SDA market to meet its potential to help provide housing for an estimated 28,000 young people with disability.

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The UpSkill Provider Directory was launched at the beginning of September. The platform gives people with disability online access to a searchable directory of support coordinators and NDIS allied health professionals.

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The Summer Foundation’s Reasonable and Necessary podcast has attracted high-powered talent to discuss key issues and opportunities for the NDIS. 

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Following April’s historic decision by a majority of Building Ministers to incorporate mandatory minimum accessibility standards into the National Construction Code (NCC), it is now up to each state and territory to adopt the new NCC.

So far Victoria, Queensland, ACT, NT and Tasmania have agreed to do so, while NSW, Western Australia and South Australia have declared that they will opt-out. 

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The Summer Foundation–La Trobe University Research Program is designed to understand the issue of young people in aged care. By researching the issues at each stage of the critical pathways that lead young people to aged care we can provide the evidence needed to create systems change that will solve this problem. 

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The Housing Hub has a suite of new resources on the website for people who are thinking about moving out of a nursing home or other housing that doesn’t suit them.

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The new Support Portal on the Housing Hub website is for professionals who are supporting people with disability to look for suitable housing. It makes everything about clients’ housing searches easier.

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Housing Hub Lived Experience Coordinator Rebecca Evans took time out of her busy schedule to tell us about herself.

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Welcome to our winter update.  It comes at a time of greater public focus on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), particularly around new independent assessments, personalised budgets and challenges within the specialist disability accommodation (SDA) sector.

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The Summer Foundation recently launched a new-look website. We invite you to head to the site and take a look around. 

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Under the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022, all new housing will be required to meet minimum accessibility standards. 

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The Summer Foundation Board renewal program continues and we are delighted to welcome new director Cain Beckett.

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The Housing Hub has begun publishing data from housing seekers in a summarised way to inform the market.

General Manager Alecia Rathbone said the Housing Hub is working to make sure the needs and wants of housing seekers are driving the market for accessible housing.

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The Summer Foundation’s Welcome Home education package for SDA providers was launched in May.

The free, self-paced learning package contains resources designed to help Board and executive team members and tenancy managers understand their obligations under the SDA Practice Standards and explore a rights-based approach to service delivery.

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Our partners in research, La Trobe University, are conducting a study to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people with acquired brain injury (ABI) e.g. stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumour, hypoxic brain injury. They are looking for adults withABI who live in Australia, or carers/family members of adults with ABI to participate. Find out more here.

The Summer Foundation is pleased with the recent Australian Government decision to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to all NDIS participants and carers. 

The Summer Foundation encourages all NDIS participants and carers to get vaccinated, if possible. For COVID-19 updates, click here.

My name is Pam, I have been involved with the Summer Foundation for about a year now.

I was diagnosed with MS in 2009. I was living independently in a private rental but after I had a serious relapse and ended up in rehab for 7 months they told me to consider moving into a supported home. I moved into a group home in 2018. There were pros and cons – it was nice to be surrounded by people, but I didn’t have agency any more.

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The Summer Foundation Research team is currently involved in an extensive range of projects.

These include:

  • Looking at the hospital to home journey for people with disability and complex needs with a focus on health and NDIS timeframes
  • Looking at ways to support young people stuck in hospital to find housing that aligns with their needs and preferences
  • Finding out what makes an effective support coordinator 
  • Looking at the impact of the NDIS on young people in aged care or those at risk of admission
  • Exploring factors that influence the quality of paid disability support
  • Investigating needs and preferences regarding housing, disability supports and assistive technology
  • Evaluating the outcomes and impact of tenants living in new specialist disability accommodation (SDA)
    to create an evidence base for the SDA market, and
  • Exploring the experience of partnering with people with disability in a co-design project

Have your say

Our partners in research, La Trobe University, are conducting a study to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people with acquired brain injury (ABI) e.g. stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumour, hypoxic brain injury. They are looking for adults with ABI who live in Australia, or carers/family members of adults with ABI to participate. Find out more here.

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Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year I am delighted about the strong progress that is being made on several fronts towards our goal of keeping younger people out of aged care. 

The long-awaited final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission provides great reason for optimism (see here).

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The Summer Foundation has welcomed the key recommendations relating to younger people with disability outlined in the final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission.

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The Summer Foundation has developed The Housing Needs and Preferences to Support Discharge Guide and Template for health professionals to support a person with disability to be discharged from hospital to suitable housing.

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The Housing Hub’s extensive range of workshops and events has kicked off for 2021.

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More than 12,000 people have signed a petition calling for minimum accessibility standards in new homes to meet the needs of all Australians.

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

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Without effective support coordination it can be difficult for younger people with high and complex needs to avoid or exit residential aged care (RAC).

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A brutal assault in 2003 robbed James of his active life and studies. At 21, he was forced to live in aged care for nearly 7 years before a TV interview set his path to independent living in Specialist Disability Accommodation – first in NSW and now in Melbourne.

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The Summer Foundation’s policy team has released a position statement on Medium Term Accommodation (MTA) eligibility, funding and quality.

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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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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.

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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.

An NDIS Housing Options project is being run by the Summer Foundation for Queensland and WA this year.

This project aims to explain the housing options and supports possible under the NDIS to people with disability and housing providers.

It will also help everyone better understand the housing needs of NDIS participants including the needs of people who would be eligible for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

Over the next 12 months, the Summer Foundation will be working to provide:

  • Information for people with disability about housing options
  • Information for housing providers about NDIS
    supports and SDA
  • Events to inform and connect NDIS participants and housing providers
  • Special support for NDIS providers seeking to provide SDA in Indigenous communities, rural areas and for people in hospital or aged care

Although we had to suspend Housing Possibilities workshops we had scheduled for Queensland and WA, we presented some of the information and introduced our new housing and SDA related resources in webinars.

These resources are now available for download from our NDIS Housing Options project web page.

The project has been funded by the Australian Government.

Our second Specialist Disability Accommodation Supply in Australia report has just been published.

Produced with Social Ventures Australia, the latest report finds that there are more than 1,766 new SDA places in the construction pipeline as at 30 September 2019.

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A new-look Housing Hub is on the way!

The revamped website will have a number of extra features, including improved search and matching functions and the ability for housing seekers to create their own profiles.

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