Unpacking The Challenges of Specialist Disability Accommodation

Apr 18
Author:Drew McCoy
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A look at some of the key issues surrounding Specialist Disability Accommodation, ahead of the upcoming Shaping the Future of Disability Housing national conference.

For those involved in the disability sector from both a private or professional perspective, the principles underpinning Specialist Disability Accommodation offer a potential light in the dark.

Indeed there is the hope that it could prove the initial catalyst linking private sector investment with a long under-represented sector; with potentially life changing consequences for people living with disability and their families.

Let’s have a look at some of the key issues being grappled with by stakeholders right across the sector:

Understanding the opportunities and pitfalls of SDA

Widespread knowledge around exactly what Specialist Disability Accommodation is, and what it will mean for the business models of organisations is still distinctly unclear. While the NDIA does continue to release information slowly, it’s often left to the sector to interpret and adopt this into practice. Confusion and well-intentioned misinformation are often the result. From a big picture perspective, organisations are struggling to fundamentally upack the specific ramifications of being involved with SDA.  

Navigating systemic and demand based risk

There are many potential concerns that are leaving organisations across the sector sitting on the metaphorical edge of the SDA pool. They tend to fall into two broad categories: systemic and demand based. Systemic referring to the risk that potential policy changes to the NDIS could impact the viability of SDA – which of course is based on long-term projections. The fear around demand or vacancy risk stems from the potential mismatch between supply and demand of housing.

Finance, design and constructing an SDA dwelling

You’ve unpacked the big picture, assessed the risk and decided that you want to proceed. What now? Where can you access the funding – how are financial institutions viewing the risks of the scheme? What about design? Who has the expertise to interpret words on a page and translate that into a compliant dwelling? What sorts of leasing arrangements are being organised between accommodation and provider? What does SDA look like in practice?

Maximising opportunities across the wider spectrum of NDIS housing

Six per cent and 28,000 are the often touted numbers around SDA. An excellent starting point, however clearly a long way to go for those participants who are not eligible under SDA, but are still suffering from a lack of choice.

How can the sector come together to create better outcomes? It’s not a simple question and it certainly doesn’t have a simple answer. But it’s absolutely vital that the traditional players in the sector, come together with those looking with fresh eyes to drive innovation.

If you’re struggling with these issues, you’re definitely not the odd one out. Why not check out the agenda for the upcoming Shaping the Future of Disability Housing national conference, running 29 and 30 May in Sydney? The event will bring together key stakeholders from across multiple sectors, with the aim of unpacking these four key challenges to help you proactively prepare for the next generation of disability housing.

Hear from a terrific lineup of speakers including:

  • Joseph Connellan, director, MC Two
  • Dan McLennan, chief executive housing, Summer Housing
  • Michael Hicks, principal project manager, Housing SA
  • Ken Langston, head of sector engagement, Community Sector Banking
  • Plus many more

Download the event program to see the full agenda and speaker line up.

Submitted by Drew McCoy

Drew McCoy

Drew is a Conference Producer at Criterion.

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