SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation)
SDA is housing for NDIS participants with very complex support and housing needs who require specialist housing solutions.
Funding is provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs who meet specific eligibility criteria.
The NDIS is expected to fund up to 52,000 Australians with disability to access specialised housing called SDA.
About Specialist Disability Accommodation
Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is the ‘bricks and mortar’ capital component of disability accommodation supports funded by the NDIS. New build SDA is designed and built for the purpose of meeting the support requirements of NDIS participants with very complex support and housing needs who require specialist housing solutions.
When a person is eligible for SDA, the NDIA will include SDA funding in their NDIS plan. SDA Funding is for the cost of the home or dwelling and does not include the services or support that might be needed by the tenant in the home. Rent and other personal costs to reside in the home will be separate.
Not all people with disability will require specialised housing to meet their accommodation needs, with only 6 per cent of NDIS participants receiving SDA in their NDIS plans. Currently, people with disability who require specialist disability accommodation are residing in Aged Care Facilities, Group Homes, Legacy Homes, Hospitals and in other unsuitable accommodations, including living with aging parents or guardians.
This new generation of NDIS funded SDA housing has growth in house and apartment options and a decline of large group homes. Housing can include apartments /villas /duplexes /townhouses /houses, notable for not looking like specialist housing.
- Up to 52,000 SDA places are estimated to be needed by 2030*
- There will be a 62% increase in SDA places required between 2022-2030*
- It is estimated that there will be 25,000-30,000 dwellings required in total*
- Taking into account existing new built properties, at least 20,000 further new builds will be required by 2030*
* Source: M3property – based on Sep 2021 figures released by the NDIA
SDA Accommodation Design Categories
Specialist Disability Accommodation has been broken up into 5 separate design categories. Funding for Basic SDA is available on existing stock only and not for new builds. Accommodation that falls under the Basic SDA design category does not include specialized design features inside the home. It does however incorporate other important SDA characteristics within the accommodation which makes it suitable for people with additional needs.
Improved Liveability SDA suits people who find it difficult to see or understand things around them.
Dwellings under the SDA design category ‘Improved Liveability’ have been built or updated to incorporate a reasonable level of physical access and enhanced provision for people with sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairment.
The design must meet the minimum requirements of ‘Livable Housing Australia’ – Silver Level. Improved Liveability SDA dwellings must also include improved liveability design features suitable for the residents needs which may include elements such as luminous contrast, improved wayfinding or lines of sight.
Generally, people who are eligible for Fully Accessible SDA use a wheelchair to get around some or all of the time.
Under the SDA design categories ‘Fully Accessible’, housing must incorporate a high level of physical access provisions for people with significant functional impairment.
They must meet a minimum standard of ‘Livable Housing Australia’ – Platinum Level, and include features for improved accessibility both inside and out.
The external doors and outdoor private areas must be accessible by wheelchair and the bathroom vanity and handbasin should be accessible in either a seated or standing position.
There should be power supplies to doors and windows including blinds for the retrofit of automation, as necessary. Plus you must also consider if the kitchen sink, bench, cooktop and key appliances such as oven, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer should be accessible from a seated or standing position in order to meet the residents needs.
For people with disabilities such as autism, mental health conditions and other psycho-social disorders, Robust SDA may suit.
Under the SDA design category requirements ‘Robust’ housing must incorporate a high level of physical access provisions and be built to ‘Livable Housing Australia’ – Silver Level.
It must also be resilient to minimize risk to the participant, to carers and the community and to reduce the likelihood of reactive maintenance. To achieve this, ‘Robust’ dwellings must make use of resilient but inconspicuous materials that can reduce the risk of injury and disturbances and cope with very heavy use. These include secure windows, doors and external areas, high impact wall linings, fittings and fixtures such as blinds and door handles, soundproofing and laminated glass.
The design should also include adequate space and safeguards to support the needs of residents with complex behaviours and provide areas of retreat for other residents and staff to avoid harm.
HIGH PHYSICAL SUPPORT
High Physical Support SDA suits those people who use an electric wheelchair to get around, or a hoist to get in and out of bed, or need many hours of support every day.
Dwellings in the ‘High Physical Support’ SDA design category feature a high level of physical access provisions for people with a significant functional impairment who require very high levels of support.
High Physical Support housing includes all of the requirements listed in the ‘Fully Accessible’ design category plus structural provisions for ceiling hoists and a minimum 950mm clear opening width doors to all habitable rooms.
Homes registered under High Physical Support are also assisted technology ready with heating and cooling and household communications and technology and include emergency power solutions to cater for a minimum 2 hour power outage if the welfare of residents is at risk.
LIVABLE HOUSING PERFORMANCE LEVELS
The levels of performance range from basic requirements through to best practice in livable home design. The levels are as follows:
Seven core livable housing design elements
Focuses on the key structural and spatial elements that are critical to ensure future flexibility and adaptability of the home. Incorporating these features will avoid more costly home modification if required at a later date.
Enhanced requirements for most of the core livable housing design elements plus additional elements.
The gold level provides for more generous dimensions for most of the core livable housing design elements and introduces additional elements in areas such as the kitchen and bedroom.
Some further enhanced requirements for the core livable housing design elements plus all remaining elements.
All 16 elements are featured in the platinum level. This level describes design elements that would better accommodate ageing in place and people with higher mobility needs. This level requires more generous dimensions for most of the core livable design elements and introduces additional elements for features such as the living room and flooring.
People living with disabilities face unique challenges and one of the ways they are being met is through home automation or smart home technology. The objective of smart technology for disabled people is to cater to their needs and lifestyles, supporting independence, quality of life and improving the way they live in their home environment.
Every person living with a disability has different needs. Smart Technology may be included in a participant’s plan if it is identified as a reasonable and necessary support that meets their needs and supports them to achieve better outcomes in life.
Smart Technology helps to make the lives of people with disabilities and those who care for them easier and more autonomous, maximising independence and privacy. It makes connecting with others simpler and completing everyday tasks easier. It is technology that is button or voice-operated via an individual’s smartphone, tablet or computer and can be thoroughly tailored to suit individual requirements, as each person’s requirements are unique.
Some examples of Smart Technology that can be installed in a SDA home are:
- Emergency Calling
Whether we work with new homes, villas, townhouses or apartments, they are usually designed to allow easy access and mobility once inside whilst incorporating specific support needs.
All dwellings are built in accordance with the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) guidelines and meet the Livable Housing Australia (LHA) Platinum, Gold or Silver Standard as a minimum.
Each dwelling is tailored to meet required levels of accessibility and support across the spectrum of High Physical Support, Fully Accessible, Improved Livability and Robust.
Our paramount focus is to match Participants with accommodation that best supports their lifestyles.
Property types eligible for SDA Funding and OOA
Property types eligible for SDA Funding
Property types that can be NDIS funded for SDA
Houses for up to 3 residents,
Group homes for 4 or 5 residents
Apartments for up to 2 residents
Other property types such as villas, duplexes and townhouses which can be funded for up to 3 residents.
Funding is based on the number of residents and the number of bedrooms in the property (in addition to the building design category such as High Physical Support, Fully Accessible, Improved Livability and Robust).
On-site Overnight Assistance (OOA)
Additional SDA funding can be paid for an OOA when a room or apartment (depending on the property type) is provided for use by support staff providing 24 hour care
Demand for specialist disability accommodation is expected to increase by almost five times the existing supply within the next eight years.
And that is without even factoring in the need to replace existing and legacy dwellings no longer suitable for the needs of SDA participants.
We recognise the nature of the SDA market – the speed, complexity and immensity of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll-out, matched with the intricacies of people with disability in need of specialist housing are influenced and affected by the effective implementation of SDA policy.
The NDIS has an annual recurrent budget of $700 million for Specialist Disability Accommodation and requires private and social investors to lend between $9 and $11 billion by 2025.
Of the annually budgeted $700 Million for SDA payments, only $204 Million is currently allocated in NDIS participants’ plans.
For more details on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, call 1800 800 110 or visit www.ndis.gov.au.
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