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New report shows growth in SDA housing

01 May 2020

New report shows growth in SDA housing

A new report shows a welcome growth in the supply of, and confidence in, the SDA housing (Specialist Disability Accommodation) market in Australia but there remains a significant shortfall.

Specialist Disability Accommodation – Supply in Australia shows that close to 3,000 SDA places have been built or are in the pipeline. But it estimates 9,000 places are still needed to meet demand and many people with a disability currently living in poor quality homes.

The report says as at 30 September 2019 there were more than 1,766 new SDA places in the construction pipeline. The authors combined this figure with the 1,190 New Build SDA places reported in the NDIS Quarterly Report to calculate its 3,000 place pipeline figure. This compares to around 2,000 SDA places that were either new or in the pipeline in December 2018.

Much of the pipeline is for high physical support properties and there is still limited investment in robust housing, leaving a gap in the market.

A survey conducted for the report shows 50% of providers intend to build additional properties, with another 30% considering it. Almost three-quarters of respondents to its survey are at least somewhat confident in the SDA supply market. For the first time, the report investigated how SDA is being run – whether people with a disability are locked in to one provider or whether there is real choice. More than 20% of providers represented in the report are still not giving their tenants choice about where they live and who provides their services. 

The report  was produced by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and Summer Foundation. As well as providing a snapshot on the growth of SDA supply, it shares insights on market sentiment and SDA management arrangements.

Compass Housing Executive Manager of SDA, Helga Smit, welcomed the findings and congratulated Summer Foundation and SVA for producing a report provides important planning data for specialist disability accommodation investors, developers, builders and providers.

Ms Smit agreed with the report authors that developers and investors need to consult with SDA providers and people with a disability to ensure accommodation is built where and how people with a disability want and need to live.

She said Compass was involved in bringing 65 new purpose built disability group homes online through Home4Life, with full completion expected by the end of 2020.

“We have more investors and developers looking to supply the market but we are working with them to ensure they build sustainably - to the needs of people, not build and hope they will come.”

She said the other issue is funding and eligibility for housing.

“People with a disability need to get SDA into their NDIS Plan to be eligible for housing,” Ms Smit said.

“Understandably, this process takes time for the NDIA to approve.”  

“Compass Housing currently has vacancies for some its high support SDA accommodation because people who need it are not approved.”

“You don’t have to have a specific property identified to get SDA in your NDIS plan.”

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