Confidence strong, but still significant unmet need in disability housing market

Close to 3,000 Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) places have been built or are now in the pipeline, according to a new report from Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and the Summer Foundation.

There remains a significant lack of SDA housing, with an estimated 9,000 places still needed to meet demand and many people with a disability currently living in poor quality homes.

The SDA Supply Report provides a snapshot on the growth of SDA supply across Australia. It also shares insights on market sentiment and SDA management arrangements.

The pipeline of SDA development continues to be dominated by High Physical Support properties and there is still limited investment in robust housing, leaving a gap in the market.

Summer Foundation CEO Di Winkler says that a key challenge for developers and investors is understanding where and what to build. “As people with disability exercise greater control over their housing and supports, it’s no longer a case of ‘build it and they will come’”, she said. 

To minimise risk and maximise return on investment, industry players must consider what tenants will want and need.

The report notes that confidence is strong in the SDA market, with roughly three-quarters of survey respondents at least somewhat confident in the SDA supply market. The research found that 50% of providers intend to build additional properties, with another 30% considering it.

For the first time, the report investigated how SDA is being run – whether people with a disability are locked in to one provider or whether there is real choice. Concerningly, more than 20% of providers represented in the report are still not giving their tenants choice about where they live and who provides their services. 

Diana Ferner, Director, Social Ventures Australia says both SVA and Summer Foundation will continue to work with people with disability, providers, investors and governments to create an SDA market that delivers on people with disability having access to housing that meets their needs and fosters connection to community.

We have a vision for an Australia where people with disability have access to high quality housing that is everything they might need and want in a home. We hope this report will inform the next phase of investment in SDA towards that vision .”  

About Social Ventures Australia:

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is a not-for-profit organisation that works with partners to alleviate disadvantage – towards an Australia where all people and communities thrive. SVA influences systems to deliver better social outcomes for people by learning what works in communities, helping organisations be more effective, sharing our perspectives and advocating for change.

About Summer Foundation:

The Summer Foundation, established in 2006, works to change human service policies and practices related to young people (18 to 64 years old) wo are living in, or at risk of entering residential aged care. Summer’s vision is that young people with disability and complex support needs live where and with whom they choose, with access to high quality housing and support options that enhance health, wellbeing and participation.

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One Comment

  1. Clare / 04/04/2020

    Great to see a report with this sort of information. I am concerned, like many others, about the extreme lack of development in the Robust SDA category. Also concerning is the number of Group Homes that are being built for NDIS participants with SDA Robust funding. Initially this was not considered a suitable or appropriate dwelling type for the sort of NDIS participants who are deemed eligible for SDA Robust funding, ask any OT who is qualified to write a functional assessment for a Housing Plan.

    I fear the Group Home option may be one favoured by investors and developers who want a greater financial return, at the expense of the participant’s happiness and wellbeing. It shows a complete lack of understanding about the nature of those whose condition requires that they reside in a robust dwelling.

    Participants who either have robust SDA funding or whom are seeking it are being ignored by the NDIA and by many SDA providers. I have contacted over 50% of the SDA providers who responded to your survey and they were not willing to provide SDA in the Robust category. So much for all of the self congratulations that occur in the media and at the “Let’s get Building SDA” conference held last year.

    What NDIA should do to improve this situation for those seeking Robust SDA is:
    *Provide access to information regarding the numbers of participants with SDA Robust funding
    *Provide information on where these participants would like to reside (Location)
    *Modify the location factor funding so that participants can live in the metropolitan area, closer to their activities and familiar community, friends and relatives
    *Increase the level of SDA Robust funding so that investors/developers do actually see that it is a viable investment – surely the figures in this report (and several others I have read) point to this obvious fact

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