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New digs for disabled youth

National Disability Insurance Scheme funding has been used for the first time to develop housing that has moved young people with disabilities out of aged care homes, the Australian Financial Review reports.

Non-profit foundation Summer Housing purchased 10 apartments in a 110-unit building completed by developer BaseBuild in Newcastle’s Belmont last year and modified them during construction for clients with disabilities. Specialist Disability Accommodation payments top up the rent that qualifying NDIS recipients pay and give accommodation owners a secure and commercial income stream.

Summer Housing, chaired by former AMP chairman and 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon, says the funding offers a new way to resolve part of Australia’s housing crisis – finding suitable accommodation for 28,000 disabled people, of whom nearly a quarter are young people. The NDIS rental guarantee could free up needed space in old folks homes as Australia’s population ages and get younger people capable of independent living out from institutions into the community.

“There’s more than 5000 or 6000 people today, young people with disabilities, living in aged care,” Mr McKeon said. “How dumb is that?”

Most of these young people could easily live in the community with the right accommodation and necessary help and the payments to qualifying recipients offer a way for accommodation providers to fund the upfront purchase of apartments that they rent out over the long term.

“The demand is there if the financial structure can be made to work,” Mr McKeon said.

Summer Housing is backed and driven by parent organisation Summer Foundation – headed by former occupational therapist Di Winkler, the wife of BRW Rich List member and MYOB founder Craig Winkler.


Funding housing: NDIS payments back new accommodation for disabled youth (Australian Financial Review)