Group 3

Housing and Support Demonstration Project Update

[lead]We are about to enter an exciting new phase of the project – transitioning tenants into their new homes.[/lead]

Construction of the Summer Foundation’s latest Housing and Support Demonstration Project in the Hunter region of NSW is nearing completion. What an incredible opportunity for people with significant disability to live more independently with their family, within a 110 apartment private development. The Summer Foundation has developed 10 highly accessible and adaptable apartments peppered throughout this building.

In my role as innovative housing and support project manager for the Summer Foundation, I step into any of these apartments and think, “I would love to call this apartment home – exactly as it is, without any changes”. This is testament to a project which is demonstrating how highly accessible, adaptable, and home-like environments can be delivered into mainstream residential developments. There is nothing specialised about these apartments, only that they are designed very cleverly, they incorporate assistive technology and they offer great homes for people to live more independently.

As we learn more about the background stories and journeys of the individuals that have been offered these apartments, it helps provide perspective about what this opportunity means for them. Moving into this new environment will change their lives. Not just the individuals with a disability, but also their families. We have been capturing these moments on camera and will be sharing these journeys in a series of digital stories. Like the previous housing demonstration project in Victoria, we will all learn and benefit from the understandings and outcomes that are delivered by projects like this.

Among the excitement and anticipation, there has been an incredible amount of hard work and long hours by a big team of people. We have been refining detailed design such as the specific operation of a laundry tambour door that will make a difference for someone to be able to access laundry appliances without assistance, finalising tenancy agreements, refining the support model, ongoing maintenance, community access planning – the list goes on!

The landscaping of the common area courtyard is nearly finished. The common areas are completely accessible.

A Summer Foundation apartment kitchen takes shape. Note the removable section of cupboard under the kitchen sink.
A great example of quick, cost effective and true adaptability to suit the needs of the tenant.

Even when you combine all of this expertise and knowledge to deliver a project such as this, there is still more to learn. As we learn from our experience, we can apply these learnings to the next project, and most importantly, continue to share our knowledge for the benefit of the wider disability and housing community.

Only a few more weeks before we have the keys – who wouldn’t be excited?!

About the Author

Justin Nix is the Innovative Housing & Support Project Manager for the Summer Foundation.

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