Doors Open for Specialist Disability Accommodation

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has allocated $700m per annum for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) to provide 28,000 Australians with complex support needs with access to appropriate housing. SDA funding has the potential to stimulate around $5 billion in private sector investment and transform the old model of segregation to provide people with disabilities more choice and control. Achieving these major changes will require many parties to consider the role they can play. This panel unpacked the potential of the government’s SDA funding looking at the market and investment opportunities, as well as, how to foster innovation to maximise independence for people with disability, now and in the future.

This Conversation is part of Remarkable Insights held virtually on 16th February, 2021. There is significant opportunity to leverage technological innovation to drive an inclusive future. But who is left behind as technology transforms the society around us. How might we use Remarkable Insights to create an inclusive now?



The views expressed are solely those of the contributors.

Definitions of some of the terms that are mentioned throughout the conversation:

  • SDA – Specialist Disability Accommodation refers to accommodation for participants who require specialist housing solutions, to assist with the delivery of supports that cater for their extreme functional impairment and/or very high support needs.
  • SIL – Supported Independent Living is help and/or supervision of daily tasks to help participants live as independently as possible, while building their skills. It is the paid personal supports and is most commonly used in shared living arrangements.
  • NDIA – National Disability Insurance Agency – sometimes called the Agency – is an independent statutory agency. Their role is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which will support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers.

Pete Horsley [00:03:13] Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Pete Horsley. I am the Founder of Remarkable. We’re a division of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and we have support from icare Foundation, from Telstra and Microsoft. Remarkable’s mission is to harness technology and innovation to see barriers to full inclusion of people with disability broken down. We do that predominantly through our 14-week accelerator program, that takes early stage companies and we invest in them and we give them the tools and skills and network in order to to grow their business and grow the impact that they have. I want to begin as well by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. I’m calling from Guringai land and I want to acknowledge the traditional owners past, present and emerging. I also want to acknowledge that each of you are dialling in from a number of different places, both in Australia and even across the world, and acknowledge the traditional owners in those places as well. We also want to acknowledge those advocates who have played a role in advancing the rights of, of people with disability, leading to address the inequalities faced by by people with disability across time. They’ve really paved the way for us and, really it brings home to, to me, that we can only do this better together with them. Today’s conversation is about “Doors Open for Disability for Specialist Disability Accommodation”. It’s part of a Remarkable Insight series and this insight series is really about saying how do we create an inclusive now, what are those barriers that that exist, and how can we break those down. But let’s not just think about that future state, let’s think about what we can do now to change some of that. And for anyone who wants to follow this conversation on social media, please use our our social handles, @remarkable tech, so we’re on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and also please use the RemarkableInsights. We’re also on Instagram on remarkable underscore tech. We’ll also be recording this event so if you do have someone that you’d like to share this with, please make sure you register for our YouTube updates, you can also see that with remarkable tech. We also have live captioning today so it’s using an AI, so apologies in advance for any errors on that, but you can use that by clicking the cc, closed caption icon, on the bottom of your screen and we’re also joined today by Therese Lewis and thank you for providing our Auslan interpretation as well.

Pete [03:04:20] So we’re joined today by an incredible panel. We have Rebecca Thomas, Executive Director of Impact Investing at Social Ventures Australia. Welcome Rebecca. We have Perry Cross AM, CEO and Founder of Accessible Homes Australia and we have Alecia Rathbone, General Manager, Housing Hub at the Summer Foundation. Welcome to our panel. Welcome. It’s good to see you all. Now I want to also just maybe just start by also asking where are you all dialling in from. So there’s a little check box that you can click down the bottom called chat. If you are able to click on that and please just type in where you’re calling from, that would be super interesting to find out where you’re calling from. So we’ve got Sydney, Sydney, Wodonga, Sunshine Coast, amazing, Victoria, up in Fraser, Melbourne, Peregian Beach beautiful, Mermaid Beach, Ballarat, fantastic, thank you for joining us. Perth amazing, good morning in Perth, Melbourne, fantastic, really really great to have you all with us today. And just a couple of terminologies, we’ll probably be using terminology like SDA. And that’s commonly used terms, SDA stands for specialist disability accommodation, so if you like think about that as the bricks and mortar that are accessible homes, that that people can access and then we’ll we possibly might also use the term sil or SIL, which is, which is Supported Independent Living, so really around the kind of service provision that’s provided sometimes in SDA homes. And obviously in Australia, I haven’t seen any any overseas callers today, but sometimes for our overseas callers, we also have a social policy in Australia called the National Disability Insurance Scheme which is run by the National Disability Insurance Agency or NDIA. So just a couple of things there. So the National Disability Insurance Scheme has allocated 700 million dollars per annum for specialist disability accommodation or SDA, to provide 28,000 Australians with complex support needs with access to appropriate housing. So SDA funding has the potential to stimulate around five billion dollars in private sector funding, or private sector investment, and transform this kind of older model of segregation to provide people with disabilities much more choice and control. Now looking at this from the outside. Rebecca, I might start with you. This all sounds like a really incredible investment opportunity. It sounds all very straightforward. Is it, is it as straightforward as this, and then we do have someone who’s who’s dialling in today, who’s asked a question around this as well – which is “how much demand for SDA is there?” So can you just enlighten us on, is it all this straightforward, is this incredible investment opportunity, everything’s just going to go smoothly.

Rebecca Thomas [06:24:22] Yeah, I mean I wish it was a straightforward investment opportunity. I think to frame that question, I think it’s worth saying, that it is a great investment opportunity if you can get everything aligned, and by that I mean, all the alignment with all the stakeholders that are in the sector, so whether that be the tenant, the investor, the SDA provider and the sell provider, so already that’s a complex group of people with very different needs and kind of how they’re operating in the sector, so, I think when I put it, put my kind of investor hat on, it’s definitely a great opportunity from a risk returns perspective and the SDA payments are coming from Federal Government payments and so, for the risk that you’re taking around that as an investor, it’s a really strong opportunity, but that alignment of stakeholders makes it a tricky opportunity because you know it’s not just about building a home and you get the SDA payment and you get a return as an investor. It’s about building a home, to the right level, in the right area, that has a demand for that type of home, and I think, what we’re finding, and as an organisation who has kind of gone on a journey for the last you know 12 to 24 months on investing in the space, what we’re learning is how we make sure that we’re building the right homes, in the right places, because that’s the best way for us to get the right returns for our investors. So I think in the context of your question, I think there’s definitely an opportunity but it’s definitely not a straightforward one. On to your point Pete, just the question about demand, that 28,000 number that you mentioned is kind of banded about a lot, I think, you know, it’s hard to put an exact figure on what demand looks like. The data is getting better and I know, you know from the last December numbers that the NDIS released, we’ve got 15,000 active SDA participants out there in Australia, so that’s pointing towards kind of what the demand look like, looks like, but that’s not the full picture because that’s not everyone who has SDA in their plans, that doesn’t take into account people’s desire to move into an independent living situation, and so, what that means in terms of actual demand, it’s really hard to get a true picture on that. So it’s probably anywhere between the 28,000 that you mentioned and higher, and maybe less, depending on kind of where people want to live and where they’re moving from and to where. So I’m sorry that’s not a direct answer but that’s probably a reflection.

Pete [08:59:05] No, that’s good. I guess for some, it would be that they don’t know that there’s an opportunity here for this kind of support, but for others they’re actually struggling to, to get that in their plans, in, in the appropriate way as well. Have you, have you got any kind of colour to that.

Rebecca [09:19:06] I I think, what we found that, that you know the improvement in the planning process has definitely come through in the last couple of years, so you know when SDA was kind of at the top of people’s minds it was taking a long time to get SDA in their plans and I think the NDIA has invested a lot in kind of streamlining that planning process and making it much easier for individuals. I think there’s still, as you mentioned, a lot of education around what is achievable and what can be achievable and that also, then you know, whether that be education from a carer perspective or education from individual tenants or even the kind of the builders out there from an SDA perspective. So it is, so yeah, so I think there’s an improvement in kind of planning times and what planning means, but I don’t know whether there’s been such an improvement on that education side of things.

Pete [10:15:10] And, Alecia, that that kind of the planning that that Rebecca’s just mentioned, you know there’s there’s I guess, a building evidence base of data around that, but, and that’s kind of I guess one part of the solution, but what part should, that that kind of co-design of right buildings, in the right places for the right needs. What what part of that should co-design play, in progressing this part of the housing market?

Alecia Rathbone [10:51:18] Yeah absolutely. I would say that data is such a key part of when you think about co-design in the voice of people with disability being at the centre of how this SDA market evolves, so I would agree that the data from the NDIA that’s coming out is really improving, however it doesn’t show where people want to live, and that’s just so important when you think about you’re going into your new home, the first question is I want to live in this location or this location because it’s close to whatever, so, collecting data and understanding people’s housing needs and preferences is really important step here to then inform the market about what people with disability are looking for, and so for me that’s how I think about data in the co-design picture, it’s about people with disability knowing what options are out there, being able to say where you want to live, who you want to live with, what type of house do you want to live with, and then using that as a key input into then what is designed in the market and there’s some great ways that that’s starting to happen now with different providers wanting to start with people with disability and that information, and then also wanting to then build in some cases for people that you know need a certain build based on their particular needs but also their preferences.

Pete [12:03:02] And Perry, you’ve been on this journey and for you you’ve got a successful outcome around this. I guess I want our webinee, webinar attendees, to hear something about your journey into this and what you thought your options, your housing options, were at the beginning and now what the result has been. Can you kind of give us a little bit of your story around that.

Perry Cross AM [12:25:21] Yeah sure, thanks Pete. G’day to all the listeners. I, I had a spiral injury at the age of 19 and my family provided my accommodation supports basically all my life, and then I heard about the SDA a little while ago, sort of got ahead of the game and got a plan written up and thought I’ll conquer that whole SDA thing quite simply, quite easily and then I, the first plan I had was to go and get my own place and buy a place and then modify it, you know bob’s your uncle, he’ll be okay, and I realised that that wasn’t gonna work and so, I went back to the drawing board and I set up Accessible Homes Australia with a couple of close friends who’d been experienced in real estate building, property development, and that, gave me the skill set to be able to go out there and do it properly. So I found an apartment in a high-rise building that I can modify to be accessible, to code and the standard, because it’s really really strict guidelines around what it looks like and what you know, circulation spaces, there are door width, door widths sort of stuff, which is important and then you know submitted my application to the NDIA to have SDA put into my plan and I got approved, but that took two years. It was a long journey and it was a frustrating journey. There were times where I felt like it wasn’t going to be worth it, and that I wasn’t getting anywhere, but now that I’m settled in and I have a place, I have a roof over my head, it’s changed my life, so I’m very very grateful and you know we want to do that for more and more people because it’s, it is a hard road and and it can be tiring, but I think it’s well worth it when you see people moving to a place, that, my place is fully automated, I can you know, voice activate, the lights, the TV, the door, the blinds, the front door, you know all these sort of things which is fabulous and it gives me independence. It means that I’m not always communicating with a personal support worker to do everything. I’ve got AI to help me.

Pete [14:59:24] It’s brilliant, and and there’s a great video of you kind of doing a tour of your of your apartment on Broadbeach and so I encourage people to have a look at that. You can see some of the incredible innovations that are built into, into your your house. Are there, are there Perry, are there any innovations that you currently don’t have that you wish existed.

Perry [15:25:21] Yeah it’s a good question, look but technology has come so far in the last few years that I’m very grateful for what we already have, because we didn’t have any of these fantastic voice control sort of things. I guess, having really good wi-fi is important to making all this work, because without that, and it’s a bit of a failure. But look, I don’t think there’s anything that we haven’t seen yet that’s not surprising, maybe some, you know tele-health type models where you have a robot in the house, where you can talk to someone that’s linked up with some physical supports that someone could come and help. You know it might be an obvious thing in the future but I think we’re headed towards that at the moment anyway.

Pete [16:17:19] Brilliant, and we’re seeing a few kind of questions come in in the chat function. It’d be really great if people could pop those into the Q and A, just for anyone that’s using screen readers that chat function does interrupt the the flow of the the conversation there, so please direct all of your questions into Q and A. But I might just pick up one that has come through on the chat there. Particularly I think James Watson is asking, “interested in finding if it’s possible for people with SDA funding to live with a partner or a friend without SDA funding?”. So in other words, like a two-bedroom house or apartment where only one bedroom is being SDA funded. Perry, or actually any of the panelists, do you want to kind of take this one?

Perry [17:02:17] Yeah it’s definitely possible. It’s just been a recent change to the rules to allow people to live with a partner or a friend, and there is a little bit of paperwork involved there, you do have to notify NDIA that you have someone else living in an SDA property but that is a good outcome and a good change to the system.

Pete [17:24:05] Brilliant, that’s great. Yeah just a reminder to pop those some questions into Q & A, if that’s, if that’s okay. There’s one other question up there just asking particularly about the quarterly report for NDIA was talking about some HPS housing and the SVA report says there’s about 80 homes in the pipeline, there’s a shortfall of 300 homes. Is there some, “where is SVA getting that data from?” Do you want to take that Rebecca?

Rebecca [17:55:03] Yeah so I think, I don’t know whether it was on the same comparable date basis because I know Summer Foundation have done an updated report since the SVA report, but I know that a lot of work goes into that, not just in terms of the underlying data conversations with SDA providers and trying to get the colour that Alecia mentioned in terms of what’s actually going on that isn’t captured by NDIA data, so that may explain the discrepancies. I wouldn’t be able to give you an exact answer because I don’t have, don’t have the numbers in front of me, but they’re probably different data sources.

Pete [18:27:24] Brilliant. So obviously SDA housing, and and as Rebecca you said before, numbers might be slightly lower than that, or slightly higher than that, but around about six percent at the moment of those supported through the NDIS could potentially have access to SDA. One of the things that strikes me, and it’s something that you said before Alecia as well, is is this, still this lack of choice about where someone with accessibility needs can choose to live and a report that, that surveyed some people last year with mobility impairment found that 73.6 percent of respondents were living in housing that didn’t match their needs. This leads to an increased costs around modifications, also the need for paid and unpaid care and a reduction, a reduction potentially in workforce participation as well, and last week there was an open letter written by 30, 30 plus organisations to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking him to secure new accessibility standards in our building code for rising, for the rising number of people who will require some form of accessibility. Rebecca, you wrote an article in 2019 that spoke to the larger number of people who are in dire need of a suitable, suitable place to live but for whom additional government funding is not available through the NDIS. I know there aren’t simple answers to this challenge but what do you think are some of the likely avenues of, of possibility are here.

Rebecca [19:57:21] Yeah, it’s, it’s a really interesting question and I wish there was a really easy solution and. I think when SVA looks at housing investment more generally and there’s lots of levers that you can pull effectively to make housing investment and housing more affordable, and I think we can learn from those in looking at how we make kind of disability housing more generally an investible product. I think SDA has piqued investors interest and that obviously helps from a kind of dollar return perspective, but how to your point, how do we make kind of disability housing or accessible housing more generally investible, and so I think anything that we can do in terms of standardising building codes I think is a great step in the right direction because it then means that you’re not looking at their accessible houses different to a normal, “normal” residential house, so anything that can kind of build economies of scale from a cost perspective, and, and that’s also in terms of innovation, what becomes standard in housing that you’re not having to pay extra for because anything that requires additional costs from an investor perspective makes that a bit harder from a returns perspective.

So I think innovation, more investment in the sector, more standardisation in terms of housing, that means that it’s it’s a housing market that’s accessible for all and that we’re not differentiating between what is disability housing and what is residential housing, the more that kind of, that becomes a conversation I think it’s it’s a great way to make it much more an investible product.

Pete [21:38:18] Yeah. And Alecia, Summer Foundation helped to lead this 30 organisation coalition as part of the Building Better Homes coalition. Can you give us some examples of those that don’t fit into SDA and, but who do have these additional housing needs?

Alecia [21:54:24] Yeah absolutely. So yeah SDA is wonderful policy reform, but it is for only six percent of participants, so the vast majority of people who have a disability won’t be eligible for SDA. So there’s a lot of people with varying disabilities, so sometimes you know, it can still be physical disabilities where someone isn’t eligible for SDA, it can also be cognitive impairments, acquired disabilities, those sorts of things, but this campaign is much broader than that as well. And it’s about all Australians having homes that people can age in place, you know as we’re getting an older population we’re seeing more and more people moving into residential aged care, so having homes without as many steps, with wider doorways when people need mobility aids over their lifetime, is really important, and another really important thing to consider is people who do have a disability still want to visit family and friends, of course, like anybody else and so there’s, I often hear that story from people there’s so many barriers so even if you have your own home that is set up for you, you might then want to go and visit mum and dad or you know grandparents and you know you can’t actually get up the stairs, or you can’t get through the doorway, that sort of thing, so we’re trying to bring awareness to this campaign, that people can sign the petition and really back that and say that we changed the building code in Australia so that we build in some of these accessibility features as standard across new homes that are built in Australia.

Pete [23:20:06] That’s brilliant and I think it was our current Disability Discrimination Commissioner Ben Gauntlett that that said it’s 22 times more expensive to to retrofit a home or to kind of put accessibility features into our home than it is to build that from scratch. So, Perry, you’re acquired disability and not to be kind of sensationalist about this but a number of people said that disability is the largest kind of global minority that anyone of us can enter at any point in our lives, and you also speak about the relevance of accessible accommodation to the ageing population as well, just as Alecia’s just mentioned, so it is really relevant to each of us. But why do you think that this gets so little attention?

Perry [24:08:09] Yeah I think, generally people are very focused on the now, and we’re not too worried about where we’re going to be in 10 or 20 years’ time, you know whatever your age bracket maybe, and I think people who are currently moving into you know nursing homes, residential aged care, all that sort of stuff, are probably thinking – well how amazing would it be if I could remain in my primary place of residence, instead of having to move everyone into new housing, so it’s important we considered housing for a lifetime and that’s what the Building Better Homes sort of philosophy is about. But I guess also to go with that, and the reason that the NDIA have created such a great scheme such as the SDA part of it, it’s about rationalising some costs for supporting independent living which is the SIL side of things and I think that’s also important for people to understand. I can see where Steven has made a comment saying that you know, in the chat there, that people get different outcomes, at different times, and there’s probably a reason behind that for people, that they get an SDA outcome or a SIL outcome but I think the approach is going to change and people get their SIL and SDA outcomes maybe together would be a really good outcome for the scheme, because then people could choose their housing and move into it you know more easily, more more quickly, but the reason is that you know, they want to see people living more closely together so that we don’t have you know support workers driving around the community going from one house, the next house, the next house you know looking after people, so it’s there’s a lot of efficiency that the scheme is trying to create and you know invest in the right areas to make people’s life better so it’s a complex scheme for a lot of reasons, but,

if we had the foresight now to say “oh look let’s build better homes for everyone for the future” then we would probably alleviate a lot of the challenges we’re trying to deal with so.

Pete [26:36:15] We’ve got a question in the Q and A, so please keep those questions coming. They said what’s your opinion on the large amounts of SDA apartments being built together and large group homes, is it not the same as what was happening in the past with kind of those larger group homes, not the goal of NDIS and all the participants. I guess that’s a little bit too kind of what you’re talking about there Perry. But any of the panelists want to, to comment on that one.

Rebecca [27:03:20] Yeah I’m happy to. Oh Alecia, did you want to go?

[Alecia laughter]

Rebecca [27:07:20] I’ll go, I’ll go quickly first. I think that, that’s a a good observation but I will say that the numbers and kind of investment in other areas are improving. So for example, we know robust homes are not getting the level of investment that’s needed and and I think from an SVA perspective and how we work we’re trying to be as diverse as possible and how we’re investing, so looking at that both from across the housing type in terms of you know, whether it’s a villa or a town house but also where are we investing geography wise and I definitely think kind of the first movers went into that department apartment market, sorry, but I think there’s definitely been an improvement in that and as the NDIA changes how the payment is flowing, we know that there’s levers to be pulled, to to move investment into different directions based on supply versus demand, so, I think you’ll see as the market evolves much more width breadth of investment across those different types, but over to you Alecia.

Alecia [28:14:06] I’ll just add to that, just around the concept of congregate models. I think that’s a little bit where this question can go too, and we get asked this a lot. We work with people every day who are looking for SDA funding and we support people to get funded, and the first thing I would say again is start with each individual, what’s your needs and preferences, where do you want to live, do you want to live in an apartment that has two bedrooms and you can live with your spouse and kids, or are you looking to live in, in a share house type arrangement, either with a person with disability or not. So I would say you know all models are required at the moment. We are moving from the group home type model into this more independent living which is excellent, and that is what people with disability are telling us that they’re looking for in the market, however some people would like to know that there’s other people with disability, maybe next door in another apartment or down the hall, that sort of thing. So yeah I definitely say that even we can’t sort of say one is better than the other, that it depends on what individual needs people have and that we support those to be developed.

Pete [29:14:18] And I might stick with you on this one Alecia, we’ve had a question from Lisa Strudwick. Hi Lisa. That in terms of the the apartment style SDA we’ve heard from a SIL provider that that only participants need to have a maximum of 12 hours of SIL are eligible. Can you confirm?

Alecia [29:34:15] Yes, so there are some changes happening in the market at the moment around what’s known as the concierge model of support which is provided in the apartment type of SDA and so this is not something that’s been publicly announced by the NDIA but I understand that the NDIA is testing out the concierge model and so that the concierge is usually, say there’s 10 apartments scattered throughout say 200, everyone lives in their own apartment and can decide what core supports they bring in and who supports them day-to-day but then there’ll be an 11th apartment where people, SIL provider is there as backup support. So yes there are conversations happening and I have also heard the same thing Lisa, that people with over 12 hours of one-to-one support, some people in the agency would say that they’re not eligible to live there. Our approach at Summer at the moment has been to understand the legislation and then understand people’s eligibility against that and then have a conversation with the NDIA to understand the reasons why you might be being told this for that individual and then work through that with the evidence that you have in your reports. Certainly can talk to anyone offline about that if anyone would like to.

Pete [30:51:02] Thanks Alecia. Perry, I might direct this question to you. This is from James, how is it, how possible is it for people to use SDA funding to purchase their own place rather than rent from a provider? Is this practical?

Perry [31:04:09] Look it is possible for people to become what you term as, but this term, sorry, a a self-provider. It does come with all the regulatory sort of red tape, you know hard work as a setting up an SDA company and all those sort of being NDIS approved, so there is a lot of work involved in that for probably relatively small effort in terms of if you’re going to do it yourself, but you know people are doing it. It is a long process and very regulatory, you have to be ordered, all these sort of things that that happen but yeah some people are going down that path. I think if you want to be a self-provider, it’s probably something you need to consider, is the supports that you want to have around you, because as a self-provider you might end up a bit isolated in the community, not close enough to other people to get some sort of efficiency for your support, maybe that’s one thing you need to consider is when you get the SIL funding, it’s going to match your SDA outcome. That’s what people need to probably understand when they’re going down that path.

Pete [32:28:07] It’s brilliant, thanks Perry. There was a question from Ket. I’m just asking Alecia is there a link to the petition around the, around the open letter that that we could provide, maybe we could provide that in a, in a follow-up or if you could pop that into the chat that would be fantastic. Another question here, friends with disability have said that despite requesting to live alone they’ve been funded for house or group home to the point where people are saying that it’s the default funding [exp] response from the NDIA. And we should all say that we don’t kind of speak on behalf of NDIA, but has this been your experience with supporting people through the funding process. Alecia, you want to take that one.

Alecia [33:13:09] Yeah absolutely. So there is a, there has been a trend over the last few months to see this, so to the person who wrote this is not just your situation and what I would say again to what I said before is again looking at the evidence that you have, what’s the needs for yourself or your friend – what’s the SDA rules and the legislation say and then actually have a conversation so it is possible to an appeal a decision like that if you believe it’s wrong and it’s not consistent with the evidence and there are organisations such as advocates who can support people with disability to undertake such appeals.

Pete [33:51:21] That’s brilliant. We’ve got a really great question here from Jessica, saying “what are some of the best practice and innovations when it comes to SIL arrangements for SDA in Australia. Are there any case studies or stories to share?” Perry, do you want to take that one.

Perry [34:07:20] Yeah for sure. I mean that’s a good question. At the moment you know it’s so new that there’s probably not a lot of case studies to be able to share. I mean my experience, you know I’m on life support, you know ventilated, so I’ve always got someone around and so I’m in a unique situation that I have to have 24/7 support, but my housing outcome is amazing. I’m fortunate enough to be able to use my voice so technology helps me immensely, being able to you know control the functions in my house that I mentioned earlier. It’s a really important thing because the demand on personal support workers can be high, you know like, there are times in my day where my care is, you know we all have two carers together for an hour or two in the morning getting ready, it’s a really intense part of the day but if I have assistive technology there to be able to help me do some of the personal things that I want to do, listen to some music or whatever it might be, and that’s really beneficial while they’re doing their things as well, so many hands make light work and some of its assistive technology even better. So yeah I guess it didn’t really answer the question directly but we’ll see more and more of this evolve in the next years you know.

Pete [35:39:15] They can definitely have a look at your video, we’ve posted a a link in in the chat for your, the link to your the tour of your home so that’s definitely I think a case study and I love the way that you kind of put that of really giving you kind of autonomy and control in your own home so to do the things that that you you’d want to do right, raise the blinds, turn on the tv, listen to some music. I really love that and and the technology is available right now. Now before we kind of ask the final question I do want to ask for one insight that you have around SDA and accessible accommodation as well, so kind of broader than just SDA, but I want to ask each of you what you’re excited about in the future of this space. Rebecca, do you want to take that one first of all.

Rebecca [36:30:17] Yep. I think a general level of excitement and kind of having these conversations and seeing how far the market has progressed and that’s kind of current state of excitement as it were and, I think from what we’re, the work that we’re doing and what’s interesting is that you know we’ve talked about what’s investible and we’re doing some work around outcomes frameworks, so how we actually measure what is good and and what that means from outcomes for tenants and their families and so there’s some work that we’re doing around that. I think that’s really exciting in terms of being able to provide choice to tenants as well, so you know, are you moving into a house that has good outcomes for you as an individual, what does that mean, those kinds of things, so in a,

in a market that’s non-regulated as such, how do we make sure that people are ensuring that outcomes are kept for the tenants who kept kind of at the centre of their decision, so to me that’s that’s pretty exciting that I’m looking forward to kind of rolling out.

Pete [37:31:01] Brilliant, thank you. Alecia, what about you? What’s one thing you’re excited about in this space?

Alecia [37:36:07] And so it’s really for me it’s around people with the live experience it’s starting to shape and drive the market, so as I said before with that data, you know we’re collecting that through the Housing Hub, we’re supporting people through events and capacity building, but how that then transfers into the vision – which is you know people with disability have the money in their plan, people can go and decide how to be informed consumers and really drive the market so we’re really striving for little steps we can take with the different work that’s happening to help support people to really be about people with disability shaping this market and I can see it we’re getting there. There’s little glimmers. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot of information to share, we need to tell someone,

if everyone can just tell someone about SDA who you think might, you know, have high support needs, that’s a great way to help start find out about it, then start understanding what people need and then connecting with providers and shaping the market.

Pete [38:28:16] Brilliant, that’s fantastic and Perry.

Perry [38:33:12] Yeah I totally agree with Alecia but also, we, our project at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast which will be open probably August September is an exciting project. We’ll see people move into it, it’ll change their lives, it’s you know right on the beach, it’s an amazing location but adding to that in the years to come the tram line in the Gold Coast just meant to go right past that front door of that apartment building and to me that is when we’ll see the true efficiency of community supports,

great SDA housing, great SIL, all combining to make people’s lives so much better, so much easier and we’ll see people with disability flourish like well we’ve never seen before because all these sort of great innovations are coming together to allow people to live a great life and that’s what I can’t wait to see.

Pete [39:37:01] Brilliant. That’s fantastic and we have had, there’s a couple of questions still in Q and A and I do want to touch on this one, we’re almost out of time but this one just says, social responsibility benefit is huge but how do we encourage investors to invest in land and building projects and what’s the economic value proposition. Rebecca, do you want to tackle that one.

Rebecca [39:59:16] Yep. I’d I’d agree when it comes to SDA that’s the benefit from a social impact investor is huge and that’s why it’s such a unique proposition right now in Australia because kind of investing at scale from a social impact perspective hasn’t really been there and SDA provides that real opportunity. I think kind of generally when it comes to residential investment it’s always a hard market to get people to come into you at scale and so I think how do you and put some context around that in terms of what this means for kind of financial return, but also investment into community and it’s always a battle that we have from an impact investing perspective because you know investors don’t necessarily want to take a financial hit and that shouldn’t be what we’re doing, we should be looking at kind of risk adjusted and appropriate returns, so I think it’s having a story to tell and understanding kind of what are the drivers of your returns, is it long-term tenancies, what is the value that you’re adding to a social benefit that you’re providing to a community, what as an investor are you willing to do, and I think, you know we’re seeing much more investment in affordable housing, more generally and super funds coming into that market and I think you know the last year is taught us a lot of investors have learned kind of that social responsibility is key for them as investors. So I think there’s definitely groundswell coming through the market and in terms of investing more broadly into socially responsible housing projects.

Pete [41:34:09] It’s brilliant. The questions keep flowing in so we will have to kind of, I do want to ask each of you just if there is is one insight that you think in in ways that we can create a more inclusive now. What would that Remarkable Insight be? and I’ll I’ll I won’t pick on you but anyone kind of want to take that question first.

Alecia [42:02:19] I can put something else out there.

Pete [42:05:01] Thanks Alecia.

Alecia [42:06:08] Yeah and something I think about a lot. We’re very involved in the SDA market and we want to see it flourish and this, like I said, a long way to go but I always am thinking about what about all the people that aren’t eligible for SDA and there’s a lot of people who need accessible features who aren’t and so I would say yeah, that you know sparking a conversation in the sector with, you know whether that’s bringing together potential investors, the providers of the housing, the support and tenants and that voice and how can we come up with a model that means you know people with disability who aren’t eligible for SDA can also have options when it comes to housing.

Pete [42:44:00] Brilliant. Perry.

Perry [42:48:01] Sorry must have, had mute. I guess, one of the bigger picture things and I don’t know, Alecia might not like this idea, but I’m having the real estate dot com feature for accessible homes, you know, like one day, maybe maybe getting to a point where you go to realestate.com to find you your housing, consider, you know, at the moment, Alecia’s got a great website. Summer Foundation do an awesome job but once we reach all inclusive, inclusivity is when we’ll see you know those sort of normalisation of things for everyone so.

Alecia [43:28:09] I agree Perry. Sorry. I just want to say I don’t disagree and I think you know we shouldn’t need it which is the point. When we don’t need it we know we’ve won.

Pete [43:37:15] Absolutely 100%. That’s brilliant. We all need to do ourselves out of a job, right. So that’s good. Rebecca, what about you.

Rebecca [43:47:07] I think from an insight perspective I’d say, working in the SDA kind of market it requires a level of persistence. I think Perry mentioned this and I think also just the insight in that its not an easy place to be in terms of all the different stakeholders, so to to kind of be aware that there’s no such thing as an easy investment or an easy kind of return, in this, in this sector, so go into it, with a, with an open mind and with an alignment of what you’re trying to do in terms of Alecia’s point around people with lived experience and really have that at the centre of the decisions you’re making because that will provide success in the long term for all the stakeholders. So I think that would be my insight.

Pete [44:37:01] Thanks so much Rebecca. It’s fantastic. There’s a few questions in there that we’re unfortunately out of time. If those people have asked those questions, if you could provide your question to us again with your email address because they’ve all come in as an anonymous ones and we’ll we’ll seek to connect you up to one of the panelists and see if we can answer that question for you. So I want to thank each of our panelists today, thank you to Perry Cross, to Rebecca Thomas and to Alecia Rathbone as well. I also want to say thank you to our Aslan interpreter Theresa Lewis as well. Thank you all for joining us today. This is a monthly webinar that we do on a range of topics around disability innovation and inclusion and we we hope you can join us for next month’s topic as well. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can see this and many other conversations that have happened in the past and also if you can stay on the call afterwards and just provide a little bit of feedback on our, on this webinar, we’re always trying to improve what we’re doing as well. Really appreciate everyone for for joining us today. Thank you for such a great discussion topic and and there’s been so many fantastic questions come through. On on behalf of the team at Remarkable, we we exist really to try and see greater, greater use of technology and innovation to see greater inclusion and, and so, on behalf of of the Remarkable team and all of us at CPA, at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we thank you for joining us today and we hope to see you next time. Thanks again. Bye-bye.

Mentions made:

[12:25:21] G’day: Australian colloquial term for good day

[13:07:05] bob’s your uncle: a way to say “it will be all right”

[14:59:24] Perry Cross Tour of Accessible Homes Australia Specialist Disability Apartment at The Qube

[17:24:05] HPS housing: high physical support housing

[18:27:24] “Living with disability in inaccessible housing: social, health and economic impacts. Final Report 22 October 2020. The University of Melbourne.

[18:27:24] Australian housing needs mandatory accessibility standards to create ‘homes, not just accommodation’, advocates say ABC News, February 2021

[27:07:20] Robust homes definition from Where to next for SDA?: Housing that has been designed to incorporate a high level of physical access provision and be very resilient, reducing the likelihood of reactive maintenance and reducing the risk to the participant and the community.

[32:28:07] Building Better Homes campaign on change to the National Building Code to ensure housing is accessible for all Australians.

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