Growing specialist disability accommodation

Aricle Image for Growing specialist disability accommodation

March 2018

By Consultant, Ruby Leahy Gatfield

Ever considered establishing or investing in specialist disability accommodation, but not known where to begin? In 2017, ARTD worked with Frankston Peninsula Carers (FPC) to develop a series of resources offering practical advice on how community members can form an association and partner with housing and support providers and investors and funders, including local government, to grow accommodation options. We also showcased some of FPC's success stories to show what can be achieved!

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) recognises that some people with disability who have very high support needs or significant functional impairments will require specialist housing solutions. However, the current supply of specialist disability accommodation (SDA) is substantially below what is required to meet demand. Moreover, as parents caring for adult children with disability are ageing and reaching a point where they can no longer support their children at home, the need for specialist housing options is increasing. To address this, the NDIA SDA Payments aims to stimulate investment and increase innovative supply of housing, including housing models that foster inclusion and have improved design and technology to support people with disability to live independently.

However, these Payments are not intended to meet the housing needs of all people with disability and growth in the broader market of accessible and affordable housing options is critical. But how do interested families and communities even begin growing housing options in their local community? What are the key steps to consider? How has this been done successfully in the past? Where can they turn for investment?

FPC is one inspiring example of a community-based organisation established to address the needs for SDA in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. The organisation is run solely by volunteers; some of whom are carers of adults with disability. Since 2007, FPC has successfully sourced over $8 million in donations and government investment to increase housing options for people with disability in their local region.

Having received funding through the NDIS Sector Development Fund in 2017, FPC engaged ARTD Consultants to develop a series of resources to support families to establish housing projects and attract the interest of potential funders and developers. After consulting FPC’s Committee and key partners we developed:

  • a checklist for forming an organisation to grow SDA
  • a checklist for creating a SDA project from start to finish that answers frequently asked questions (such as where to find land, how to approach developers and investors, key design features and policies to be aware of, and how to run the property)
  • a template for a one-page project summary to present to stakeholders in early discussions
  • a template structure for a project proposal
  • a template and tips for developing a Memorandum of Understanding
  • a description of each of FPC’s housing projects to show interested community members what they can achieve when working together.

The resource package has been distributed to local members of parliament, Mayors, Ministers, housing providers, donors and families of people with disability and received positive feedback as a clear and useful tool. For more details and to download the resource package, visit the FPC website.

You can also support the work of FPC by donating to their current McCrae housing project – a well-located property designed to accommodate six people with varying disabilities. FPC has raised $35,000 so far and is is seeking to crowdsource $90,000 more to complete the property. You can read more and donate or share their crowdsourcing efforts here: https://donate.grassrootz.com/fpc/help-build-mccrae-house.