The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an exciting and significant part of the solution to the issue of young people in nursing homes. The NDIS will provide the critical funding required for young people in nursing homes to live successfully in the community. However, the NDIS does not have the resources to build the scale of affordable and accessible housing required for these young Australians. Given the current lack of appropriate housing for people with disability, without timely and innovative intervention, it is unlikely that many people will move out of nursing homes in the next few years, simply because there is no where for them to move to.
Over the past 5 years, the Summer Foundation has developed and refined a new innovative model of housing and support for people with significant disabilities. Our unique model aims to demonstrate that the provision of good quality housing that is accessible and centrally located, improves quality of life and social inclusion, while decreasing reliance on paid supports and reducing life-time care costs.
So what is our model? Our housing demonstration projects peppers 6-10 fully accessible self-contained apartments throughout larger residential developments. These developments are well located near accessible public transport, shops and services. The apartments have been designed with a high level of accessibility to achieve Platinum level certification under the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. They have also been designed with enough space and features to accommodate family and friends staying over or living with the person.
Smart home technology is a core element. The apartments incorporate two way communications technology and capacity for smart home technology. Via a smart phone or tablet, tenants are able to operate features such as lighting, blinds, cooling and heating, external doors and doorbell functions, as well as contacting support staff when needed. This technology allows tenants to live with greater independence and privacy by having as much control over their home environment as possible. A 3-minute video demonstrating the technology incorporated into the apartments can be seen here. You can also view the stories of two of our tenants of our first housing demonstration project here and here.
Proof of concept is key. The apartments for our Hunter Housing and Support Demonstration Project are due for completion in March 2016. For a six-month period, two fully fitted out units will be available to view showcasing the design, and smart home and communications technology incorporated into the apartments. If you would like to tour the Hunter Demonstration Project showcase apartments please email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
What does success look like?
Tenant outcomes: empirical data will show improved quality of life, social inclusion, increased independence, decreased reliance on paid supports and reduced life time care costs
Replication: through the transfer of knowledge, others in the sector across Australia will replicate this model for both young people in nursing homes and other people with disability
Social finance: we will demonstrate a successful model of social investment for housing for people with disability that is replicable and scalable.
Our long-term vision is that this model of integrated housing for people with disability is routinely included in all new medium and high-density residential developments throughout Australia.
We do not plan to scale this model ourselves. By establishing its efficacy and sharing the knowledge generated by these projects, we hope to encourage other organisations and government to establish similar models that would see the range and number of housing options available for both our target group, and others with disability, increase across Australia.
The Summer Foundation has released three reports documenting the knowledge generated by our housing demonstration projects:
Learnings from the Abbotsford Housing Demonstration Project report offers reflections and learnings about the origins and set up phase for this project
New Housing Options for people with significant disability: Design Insights report outlines the principles for the design and technology incorporated into the Hunter Housing Demonstration Project
Social Finance Think Tank report explores a model of social finance to replicate and scale this model of housing
Copies of the reports are available as a complimentary download from our website: http://www.summerfoundation.org.au/documents-category/publications/
People need somewhere to live and more affordable and accessible housing is desperately needed. We want to see this work move from pilots to policy change.