Summer Foundation – La Trobe University Research Program 2022/2023
The enduring research partnership between the Summer Foundation and La Trobe University’s Living with Disability Research Centre is testament to what is possible when rigorous academic methods are applied to real-world problems. The research program at the Summer Foundation is unashamedly ambitious. It needs to be in order to address the manifold challenges experienced by people with disability in Australia today.
Our Research team consists of more than 20 researchers, including experienced academics, clinical experts, research assistants, and doctoral candidates. They come from diverse backgrounds, including psychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and architecture. Together, the team work on more than 20 active projects covering topics as broad as younger people in residential aged care, hospital discharge, the disability housing market, and factors contributing to quality disability support.
This report outlines the research undertaken in 2022/23 as part of the program, our aims and our outputs.
NDIS housing pathway
On this resource we detail one pathway to mainstream housing. If you have searched for mainstream housing and discovered you can’t access it because of your disability, you can test your eligibility for SDA on the second page.
First published: August 2019
Last updated: June 2023
Summer Foundation – La Trobe University Research Program 2021/2022
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.
Improving housing accessibility in Australia
Research supports incorporating accessible design features in the construction of all homes. The Summer Foundation urges State and Territory Governments to commit to improving housing accessibility so people with disability have more options for where they can live.
Only 5% of new home builds over the past decade have complied with current accessibility standards, meaning tens of thousands of Australians with disability are unable to access housing that meets their needs.
Making homes more accessible for people with mobility impairment: A lived experience perspective
Tags: accessible housing
People with mobility impairment have the right to live in accessible housing that meets their needs. Although the Australian National Construction Code for residential housing will be amended to include minimum accessibility standards in September 2022, some states have chosen not to adopt these standards (New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia). The inclusion of people with lived experience in decisions surrounding accessible housing design is lacking. This study sought the perspective of people with mobility impairment on the most important modifications they would make to the design of their own homes, and the homes of their friends and family, to make them more accessible.
Goodwin, I., Davis, E., Winkler, D., Douglas, J., Wellecke, C., D’Cruz, K., Mulherin, P., & Liddicoat, S. (2022). Making homes more accessible for people with mobility impairment: A lived experience perspective. Australian Journal of Social Issues.
Accessible design features and home modiﬁcations to improve physical housing accessibility: A mixed-methods survey of occupational therapists
To address Australia’s undersupply of accessible housing, Building Ministers agreed in April 2021 to include mandatory minimum accessibility standards in the National Construction Code (NCC). However, some states and territories have not committed to implementing these standards. This study provides an evidence base about the impact of specific design features on hospital discharge and ageing in place. It provides the findings of a national survey of 144 occupational therapists (OTs), who were asked to rate the importance of specific accessible design features in making homes more accessible.
Wellecke, C., D’Cruz, K., Winkler, D., Douglas, J., Goodwin, I., Davis, E., Mulherin, P. (2022). Accessible design features and home modiﬁcations to improve physical housing accessibility: A mixed-methods survey of occupational therapists. Disability and Health Journal.
Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Investor Think Tank: Findings and Recommendations
Thousands of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) dwellings are needed to meet Australia’s accessible housing needs. Private investors play a significant role in funding the considerable build and refurbishment of housing that is needed.
This investment plays an important role in supporting the Australian Government’s vision for a market-based system and reduces the pressure on public funds.
Madhavan, D., Mulherin, P., Winkler, D, (2021). Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) investor think tank: Findings and recommendations. Summer Foundation.
Interim Report – Moving into new housing designed for people with disability: Evaluation of tenant outcomes
The preliminary findings presented in this interim report examine the tenant outcomes of people with disability moving into SDA-funded apartments, with appropriate technology, support, design and location, in the 10+1 model. The overarching aim of the research project is to systematically evaluate individual outcomes of tenants moving to newly built, SDA-funded contemporary models of housing for people with disability over a 3-year period.
To date, this project has found that tenants have a greater level of community participation and are significantly more involved in household tasks such as meal preparation, shopping and electronic social networking post-move. There is also a positive trend towards improved social integration. These changes reflect the fact that tenants moving into SDA-funded apartments are more involved in everyday life compared to their pre-move living situation, suggesting that the 10+1 model better enables people with severe disabilities to fulfil their aspirations to live an ordinary life.
Winkler, D., Douglas, J., Oliver, S., D’Cruz, K., Naismith, J., Minter, E., & Liddicoat, S. (2021). Interim report – Moving into new housing designed for people with disability: Evaluation of tenant outcomes. Summer Foundation and La Trobe University.
Housing Seeker Snapshot
A new version of the Housing Hub website was launched in August 2020. On this new version of the Housing Hub, people with disability who are looking for a home – housing seekers – can provide data about their housing needs and preferences and the website can then identify properties listed that are a close match.
In this data snapshot, the Housing Hub is releasing data from housing seekers in a summarised way to inform the market. By doing this, the Housing Hub is working to ensure that the wants and needs of housing seekers are driving the market.
The Housing Hub intends to release this information every 6 months.
Rathbone, A., Aimers, N., & Winkler, D. (2021). Housing seeker snapshot – May 2021. Housing Hub and Summer Foundation.
Study 2 – Accessible design, hospital discharge and ageing in place: A national survey of occupational therapists
Tags: accessible housing
This report is the second of two studies investigating accessible housing conducted through the Summer Foundation–La Trobe University research program, to inform decision-makers on incorporating minimum mandatory accessibility standards in the 2022 National Construction Code (NCC).
This study points to the inefficiencies of retrospectively modifying homes, rather than incorporating minimum accessibility features as standard in new homes.
D’Cruz, K., Winkler, D., Douglas, J., Wellecke, C., Goodwin, I., & Davis, E. (2021). Study 2 – Accessible design, hospital discharge and ageing in place: A national survey of occupational therapists. Summer Foundation and La Trobe University.
Study 1 – Incorporating minimum accessibility standards in new housing: A survey of access consultants and-architects
Tags: accessible housing
This report is the first of two studies investigating accessible housing conducted through the Summer Foundation–La Trobe University research program. These reports provide an evidence base to inform decision-makers on incorporating minimum mandatory accessibility standards in the 2022 National Construction Code (NCC).
This study seeks the expert opinions of access consultants and architects on how expensive and complicated it would be for builders to incorporate specific accessible features into all new homes. It surveyed 24 access consultants and architects with expert knowledge of the Livable Housing Australia Design Guidelines.
Winkler, D., Harvey, C., Davis, E., Goodwin, I., Wellecke, C., Douglas, J., & Mulherin, P. (2021). Study 1 – Incorporating minimum accessibility standards in new housing: A survey of access consultants and architects. Summer Foundation and La Trobe University.
Audit of accessible features in new build houses plans
This study audited 20 of the most popular house designs from Australia’s most active volume home builders. It found that many features of the Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of Livable Housing Australia’s (LHA) Livable Housing Design Guidelines are already incorporated into new dwellings produced by these builders.
Version 1.1 Updated February 2021.
Winkler, D., Martel, A., Chen, Y., & Greaves, T. (2021). Audit of accessible features in new build house plans. Summer Foundation and the University of Melbourne.
Lisa is moving out of aged care
Lisa has lived in a nursing home for about 6 years. Her main goal was to get of the nursing home. Lisa shares how it feels to be preparing to move into an SDA apartment.
Carol & Kevin support their daughter through her SDA journey
Kirby had to move home to live with her parents after her injury. It was always Kirby’s dream to return to independent living. Carol and Kevin share their journey of supporting Kirby through the SDA process.
Support coordination: Exploring housing options
Linda Rossow, Independent Support Coordinator, talks about the process she works through with participants who want to find somewhere different to live.
A digital story by Cheryl & Gary Parkinson
The motive to look for alternative accommodation for their son was two-fold: For Ben, it was about his independence; for Gary and Cheryl, it was about who would look after Ben in the future.
Greg Brown’s story
Greg is a typical Aussie bloke who has experienced a lot of life and has a quirky sense of humour to match. After being attacked by a gang on a train, Greg has been slowly gaining his freedom back thanks to extensive therapy and suitable housing.