Specialist Disability Accommodation

The Specialist Disability Accommodation funding arrangements under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are complicated and it’s important for you to undertake your own due diligence. The NDIS Price Guide for SDA is a key document about Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and includes detailed information about requirements of SDA providers and properties. This document is updated regularly and can be found on the SDA Pricing and Payments webpage.

Detailed below is some general information about SDA. You can also visit the Get Building SDA website for further frequently asked questions for SDA Providers.

For some participants of the NDIS, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will fund Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). SDA refers to accommodation for people who require specialist housing solutions. Funding is only provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs who meet specific eligibility criteria.

SDA funding under the NDIS will stimulate investment in the development of new high-quality dwellings for use by eligible NDIS participants. SDA funding is not support services, but is instead for the homes in which these services are delivered.

The SDA policy was initially outlined in the ‘Specialist Disability Accommodation: Decision Paper on Pricing and Payments’ released on 1 June 2016 and the more practical application of SDA is defined within the NDIS SDA Rule that was first published in March 2017, updated July 2018.

The current set of documents that describe requirements for SDA provision are found at the SDA Pricing and Payments webpage:

SDA Price Guide

SDA Rules

SDA Registration and Dwelling Enrolment - note the Guide to Suitability

It’s a good idea to monitor content on this page as new information and publications about SDA are added to the website routinely.

Resources

If you are thinking about building SDA, the resources on the Get Building SDA website may help:

Introduction to Specialist Disability Accommodation

Specialist Disability Accommodation Payments Guide

Establishing Effective SDA Projects

Disability Services Consulting published a checklist with the key actions that organisations should consider and take along the SDA journey. You can find the checklist here.

Information about registering as an SDA provider can be found at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website; this website has a helpful information pack available for new providers registering with the NDIS.

All NDIS service providers and staff (even if not registered) must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct. Registered providers of SDA must comply with the NDIS Practice Standards (core module and SDA module).

The NDIA recently published a new SDA Design Standard which will come into full effect in 2021.

Some useful resources that detail design standards and other information about developing and managing SDA housing:

Designing for inclusion and independence

Establishing effective SDA projects- Summer Foundation resource

New Housing Options - Design Insights- Summer Foundation resource

Separating Housing and Support Services Toolkit- Summer Foundation resource

If you have specific questions about designing SDA you should speak with an access consultant / NDIS SDA Assessor. You can find an access consultants via the Association of Consultants in Access Australia website.

If you’re considering building or investing in Specialist Disability Accommodation the resources on the Get Building SDA website may help:

Managing SDA: Investment and Ownership

Separating Housing and Support- Summer Foundation resource

Summer Housing is looking to partner with governments, private developers, community housing providers and other critical stakeholders to grow the housing market.

We are interested to hear from developers about upcoming projects in which we can incorporate our off-the-plan ‘10+1’ model, either through acquisition or head lease arrangement.

As part of our initial considerations, we typically look for projects that can achieve the following:

• No less than 75 residential apartments (BCA Class 2),

• Under construction, and completing by December 2020,

• Project is situated within 800m of accessible public transport (preferably rail or accessible light rail),

• Project has good amenity and enhanced features for residents,

• Livable Housing Australia (LHA) Platinum Design Stage Certification and As-Built Certification,

• Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010,

• Size of apartments no less than 65sqm with no less than 1 bedroom,

• Fire sprinklers provided, and

• Two passenger lifts servicing each apartment floor.

If you have a project that meets the above criteria, please send through details of the development to info@summerhousing.org.au

Public tours and open days will be held at newly completed Summer Housing apartments throughout 2020 in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australia Capital Territory.

You can register your interest here.

It is very difficult to estimate detailed demand for SDA in particular locations. It is important to note that the NDIA determines who actually gets funded for SDA.

The Summer Foundation has published two reports about SDA supply and demand, based on modelling and surveys - SDA Market Insights and SDA Supply in Australia.

The NDIA publishes limited information about the number of NDIS participants with SDA funding in their Quarterly Reports. You can find the Quarterly Reports on the NDIA website here (Go to Appendix O).

The published data from the NDIA does not provide information about which SDA design categories participants have been funded for. Furthermore, it is assumed most participants reported by the NDIA as having SDA funding are living in existing SDA - generally group homes from the pre-NDIS system. This data therefore has some limitations when assessing new demand for SDA and type of demand.

The SDA Appendix of the Quarterly Report also publishes data about enrolled SDA dwellings, but this excludes most government-owned SDA dwellings to date.

New financing models have been created around the SDA payments system. Whether you’re looking into one of these or leveraging a more traditional financing option for your investment in SDA, the resources on the Get Building SDA website might help:

Financing SDA

We are investing in Specialist Disability Accommodation for our own purposes and we are unlikely to be selling any of the apartments in the near term.

Summer Housing engages the Summer Foundation’s Tenancy Matching Service to find eligible tenants for our pipeline projects.

If you are a prospective tenant and have questions about SDA eligibility or how to apply for a Summer Housing tenancy, please contact the Tenancy Matching Team at newbuild@thehousinghub.org.au or on 0438 999 044.

Applications for tenancy are made via The Housing Hub. To apply, visit our Leasing Availability webpage and click on the project you would like to apply. You will be redirected to The Housing Hub where you can begin the application process.

The rent a tenant of a Summer Housing apartment will pay is set according to the Reasonable Rent Contribution (RRC) calculation outlined in the NDIA’s Terms of Business.

If the participant receives the Disability Support Pension (DSP), the RRC to be paid by a participant must not exceed an amount that is:

• 25% of the basic rate of the DSP;

• Plus 25% of any pension supplement received;

• Plus 100% of any Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), if the SDA tenant receives CRA.

If the participant does not receive the Disability Support Pension, the RRC must not exceed an amount which is:

• 25% of the basic rate of the DSP;

• Plus 100% of any Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), if the SDA tenant receives CRA.

The “basic rate of the DSP” is the amount under the Social Security Act 1991 that is the maximum basic rate for a person who is not under 21 and not a member of a couple.

The Housing Hub is a web-based information platform connecting people with disability who are seeking housing from housing providers with housing vacancies in Victoria, NSW, ACT, Queensland and South Australia. The Housing Hub listings will soon expand to other states.

The Housing Hub covers both SDA and non-SDA disability housing. Housing seekers can browse properties listed on the website, and directly contact housing providers when they find a property they are interested in.