Specialist Disability Housing
Shaping the Future of Design
As of 2019, it was recorded that more than 4 million disabled Australians receive Commonwealth assistance, social housing, or are homeless. To put it into perspective, that’s approximately 15% of our entire countries’ population. (Australian Institute of Health + Welfare: People with disability in Australia: In brief.2019) Amazingly, our Australian Government has committed $700m each year for the next 20 years under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS is designed to support Australians who have a permanent or significant disability. For many people, incredibly, it will be the first time they receive the disability support they need. One aspect of NDIS support is the provision and funding of housing suitable for those with disabilities known as Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). Last year we saw over 12,000 people receiving financial assistance for Specialist Disability Accommodation and it’s expected that more than double that number will ultimately receive assistance for housing. (NDISP: ndisp.com.au) Unfortunately, there are still too many Australians with some form of disability who are not living in appropriate housing which is safe, assistive or spatially large enough to cater for their disabilities. With a focus on developing specialist solutions for varying types and levels of disabilities, the following classifications are part of the SDA Guidelines: Improving Liveability Developing housing that will enhance the overall liveability for people with sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairments. This might include providing spaces that allow ease of circulation/accessibility or safety and physical features to allow NDIS Participants to live independently, with value and integration with others where appropriate. Robustness Designing housing that is very resilient, or which may have additional ‘breakout’ spaces, to reduce the likelihood of reactive maintenance. Robustness may also include aims to reduce the risk to the tenant with more obvious behavioural disabilities, disabled tenants and others who may live in or visit the dwelling. Fully Accessible Developing housing that provides appropriate accessibility for people with significant physical impairments such as incorporating additional width in doorways, spaces and circulation areas, together with enhanced design of kitchens and bathrooms to allow fixtures and fittings to be useable by those in wheelchairs. High Physical Support Ensuring that the housing has been designed to support people with significant physical impairment and requiring very high levels of support. This could include the provision of lifting hoists in bedrooms for assistance in access to beds. For the full article or if you need an SDA Assessor for your project, refer to Steven’s original blog.