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Supported living and housing

Many participants with housing and living supports in their plans still have limited choice in where, how or with whom they live. There has been little innovation in housing and living supports. The supply of specialist disability accommodation is not always meeting the needs of participants.

Dougie Herd talks about the limited choice in where and how you want to live.

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What you told us is not working

From what you told us we understand:

  • Achieving better housing and living outcomes is critical to the scheme delivering greater inclusion for people with disability and connection to family, friends and community.
  • However, planning decisions often don’t consider housing and living supports in a holistic and connected way. Decisions are often not transparent and inconsistent, and there is not enough support for participants to explore their housing and living needs options and arrange their supports.
  • Contemporary housing and support models have been slow to develop.
  • Supported Independent Living and outdated ‘group houses’, where participants are not actively supported in community life and where there is significant risk of harm and abuse, still dominate the system.
  • There is not enough innovation. Individualised Living Options, which were very creative and flourished in WA before the NDIS, are shrinking.
  • There is too much large, old and poorly designed specialist disability accommodation. There has been insufficient market facilitation to incentivise redevelopment and meet the expectations of residents.
  • The supply of new accommodation is not sufficiently responsive to demand or being built in the right locations.
  • There are many perverse incentives affecting housing and living arrangements and incentives are not aligned to good outcomes for participants or a sustainable NDIS.
  • Too few housing and living arrangements are fostering more inclusive and connected lives in community.
  • More individualised housing and living settings can have significant cost and workforce implications if there is not enough planning and investment in informal support, assistive technology and capacity building.
  • There have been numerous calls to reconsider the regulation of group home settings to ensure the safety of participants and the quality of supports they receive. 
  • More broadly outside the NDIS, there is a lack of accessible and affordable housing in Australia. This has a disproportionate impact on people with disability, particularly those with high support needs, who are more likely to have fixed or low incomes and more likely to need accessible housing.  
  • There is not enough focus on how housing and living decisions should be both underpinning good outcomes for participants and consistent with a sustainable NDIS. 

We [have] little to no say in our housing - providers are building whatever, without co-design.

– Participant

A participant applying for [specialised disability accommodation] faces extreme stress, to the point of psychological distress. It is without a doubt the worst process I've ever had to go through.

– Participant

[Supported independent living] is often the only option given to a person with high support needs, so no real choice. The [supported independent living] funding rarely allows for anything other than congregate living arrangements and does not take into account the relevant research in relation to the impacts of this model.

– Advocacy organisation

What we want to know now

How should housing and living options be improved to build a good life?

Prompts to help you answer this question:

  • What would help you to make decisions about where, how and with whom you live?
  • What are the features of living with people or living on your own that are important to you?
  • What information, services or support do you need to feel safe and well supported in your home?
  • How should the NDIA make decisions about reasonable and necessary housing and living supports, so that decisions are fair and much less stressful?
  • How can housing and living supply responses be encouraged to be more innovative and aligned with participant needs?

Have your say