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Welcome to our Spring 2022 Update

It’s an exciting and busy time for the Summer Foundation.

Our Annual Public Forum on Friday 25 November will look at a reimagined NDIS and what it means for participants. As the Labor Government settles in, it is the ideal time to explore how a reimagined NDIS could truly serve the people it was designed for. 

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The Summer Foundation, in partnership with People With Disability Australia, recently conducted a survey to capture people’s lived experience with the NDIS. The study was also seeking to understand what people thought a reimagined NDIS would look like.

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The Summer Foundation’s 2022 Annual Public Forum will be held on Friday 25 November.

A reimagined NDIS: What this means for my housing and supports will discuss the issues and opportunities around SDA and housing needs more broadly for NDIS participants. 

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The Summer Foundation and the key objectives of our Down to 10 Days campaign were in the media spotlight in August.

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In his first interview with Dr George Taleporos since becoming the NDIS Minister, Bill Shorten has promised to fast track decisions, sack the lawyers and put people with disability in charge.

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Building ministers from around Australia came together in August and adopted changes to the National Construction Code that will require all new homes to be built to new mandatory accessibility standards.

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We know there are around 1,430 people with disability stuck in hospitals around Australia who no longer have a medical need to be there. These people wait an average of 160 days to be discharged from hospital and to resume their lives.

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UpSkill was launched by the Summer Foundation in September 2018 to build the capacity of support coordinators and ensure young people living in aged care, or at risk of entering the aged care system, have access to highly skilled support coordination. 

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The research partnership between the Summer Foundation and La Trobe University’s Living with Disability Research Centre continued throughout 2021/22. The partnership uses research to improve the lives of people with disability and understand the issue of young people in aged care and the associated systems and pathways.

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“They treat you like a person, they ask you what you want.” 

That is what quality paid disability support looks like according to new research by the Summer Foundation and La Trobe University.

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We are investigating the role of support coordinators and how they can effectively assist people with disability and complex needs. 

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Over the past few months we have been working hard on a campaign that puts a spotlight on the lengthy delays NDIS participants are facing for approval of funding for housing and supports. 

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In the past 3 months, the Summer Foundation has led an alliance of more than 130 organisations across the disability, health and housing sectors in calling for faster and more accurate decisions on housing for NDIS participants.

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The Summer Foundation and People with Disability Australia (PWDA) are researching the NDIS experiences of people with disability, their families and close supporters. The survey results will be presented to Minister Shorten, the NDIA and the government to address the current challenges.

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The Down to 10 days campaign used a range of media and social media platforms to create awareness of the campaign and highlight stories of lived experience and the impact of delayed NDIA decisions.

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A new report shines a light on the increasing number of hurdles being put in front of NDIS participants in order for them to receive housing support. 

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The Summer Foundation has appointed a new chairman of its Board.

Chris Leptos AO brings a wealth of corporate and government experience to the role. His experience
in the housing sector combined with his work advising state and federal governments provide him with perfect qualifications to be Chairman of our Board.

He is an experienced company director and is Chairman of the National Heart Foundation, a Non-Executive Director of IDP Education Limited, and Senior Adviser to Flagstaff Partners.

Chris has a strong interest in social impact and systems change, and shares our fundamental belief that young people in aged care is a solvable issue.

In 2000 Chris was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to business and the community, and in 2022 was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to the not for profit sector.

We welcome Chris and convey our sincere thanks to outgoing Chairman Paul Conroy who has supported the work of the organisation for more than a decade.

In his time as Chairman Paul guided the Board through an extensive renewal program and significantly increased the lived experience of disability among Directors. Paul concludes his responsibilities with the Board at the end of June.

The Collaborative Support Approach Tool outlines the cooperation between support coordinators, aged care staff, allied health professionals and other stakeholders working together to assist a younger person to leave aged care.

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What would you like to share with readers about yourself?

My name is Connor, I am 19 years old and moving into an SDA apartment soon. My disability is Friederichs Ataxia. I have dog named Gus who is 8 months and hoping to move in with me if he behaves.

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As part of the Summer Foundation-La Trobe University Research Programme, in recent months we have published several journal articles and reports, and presented at academic conferences. 

We’ve been looking at issues such as hospital discharge, accessible housing regulations, NDIA decision-making, support coordination, and the impact of living in SDA. 

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Critical to successfully resolving the issue of Young People in Residential Aged Care is streamlining NDIS processes for funding housing and support until they become as responsive as the aged care system. 

In the lead-up to the federal election, the Summer Foundation is working with an alliance of people with disability, advocacy organisations and the housing, health and disability sectors to campaign for timely NDIS funding for housing and support. 

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Last week a new campaign was launched to get Australians with disability the housing support
they need.

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Off the back of our successful Building Better Homes campaign in 2021, this year will see many new homes around the country built to minimum accessibility standards. This means new homes will include features such as increased door widths and a no-step entrance, making a significant difference to the millions of Australians with mobility issues. 

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In October 2021, the Housing Brokerage Service (HBS) started working with the Victorian Department of Health and Melbourne health services to support people with disability to discharge from hospital into housing that meets their needs and preferences.

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