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Media Release: Summer Housing appears at the Disability Royal Commission

On 17 February 2023, Summer Housing Board Director Wendy Brooks BMus, LLB, represented the organisation at a public hearing for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Summer Housing welcomed the invitation to appear at the public hearing, which examined the policies and practices of disability service providers, with a focus on the extent to which people with disability have choice and control in the services they receive.

As Summer Housing was established with the concept of choice and control for people with disability at the centre of its operating model and values, this was a welcome opportunity to provide information about the organisation’s vision and innovative specialist disability housing model.

Wendy spoke passionately about Summer Housing’s vision that all people with disability and complex care needs can live in high quality housing that enables them to live as independently as possible, enhancing their health, wellbeing, and participation in the community.

Wendy outlined how Summer Housing’s 10+1 model allowed people with disability the choice to live in their own apartment, to choose their one-on-one support workers, and have access to 24/7 support when needed.

“They are not alone, they are not isolated, they can call on the 24/7 support worker. And that’s a very important part of our model”.

The barriers to people with disability having choice and control in relation to their housing was also discussed.

Wendy called on the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to work more closely with service providers and participants to both improve the capacity of NDIS participants to make informed choices about housing; and support the transition of NDIS participants into Specialist Disability Accommodation if they choose to make that move.

“If the NDIA provided a coordinator, one person who could work with the 10 tenants and us, to ensure that they were properly placed in their apartments, that they had the modifications done that they needed, that they got the supports that they required, that coordination could really fast-track and improve the outcomes for our tenants….We could really benefit from a far more collaborative approach by the NDIA”.

A focus of the hearing was on the need for the NDIA to improve its approvals and appeals process. Wendy shared Summer Housing’s experience that many prospective tenants receive an incompatible SDA outcome and chose to withdraw from the process rather than going through the lengthy, complex and stressful appeals process with the NDIA. 

“We know that if that appeal process occurs, that almost all the appeals are settled. So why put that barrier there in the first place for people who are disadvantaged – extremely disadvantaged, who are looking to improve their living conditions?” she said.

Wendy also spoke about the importance of the need for a national building code that provides universal access.

“As someone who’s used a wheelchair and mobility aids for many years and continued to work fulltime right through that period too, I only felt like I had a disability when I faced the built environment/obstacles,” she said.

“Until we have a building code that provides for universal access we are always going to face discrimination for people living with disabilities and we are a poorer society for that too.

“Because if people can’t get out and about, how can you see people with disabilities, how can they function and be included in society, how can they be employed and work – it’s a huge battle.

“And so these little experiments that we are doing with Summer Housing, our small contribution, it’s just a tiny part of saying to society we have to wake up. We have to say – this society has to stop segregating people living with disabilities and include them and make for a richer society for us all.”

The full transcript of Wendy Brooks’ appearance at the Royal Commission is available here.

For Media comments contact:

Elyse Gatt | Senior Associate | MICHELSON ALEXANDER

M 61 433 586 152


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Media Release: Summer Housing appoints interim CEO and launches rebranding process

Summer Housing today announced that it has begun the search for a permanent CEO to lead the organisation into its next phase of growth and development. The Board is committed to appointing a CEO who will lead a team that delivers high quality services to our tenants and investors, and continues to innovate SDA accommodation options.

Prior to the appointment of a permanent CEO, Adrian Harrington will step in as interim CEO to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of leadership during the recruitment process.

Adrian is currently a Non-Executive Director at Summer Housing, and has extensive experience at senior levels of Australia’s funds management industry and in the real estate sector.

In welcoming Adrian to the role, Chairman of Summer Housing Chris Leptos said, “I would like to thank Adrian for stepping in as interim CEO, and I look forward to announcing a new permanent CEO once the recruitment process has been finalised”.

“I would also like to thank our GM Property and Development, Tim Scott, for acting as interim CEO since September last year. On behalf of the Board, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Tim for his very significant contribution to Summer Housing during this transitional period”.

Summer Housing is also pleased to announce that it will undergo a complete brand refresh and has retained a branding consultancy to assist with this work.

The consultancy will develop a shortlist of potential names and logos, and Summer Housing will be seeking feedback from tenants, staff, and investors on the preferred option. 

Chris Leptos said: “We would like our new brand to reflect our relentless focus on achieving a high-quality service to our tenants, which drives us to deliver more choice and control to people with disability”.

For Media comments contact:

Elyse Gatt | Senior Associate | MICHELSON ALEXANDER

M 61 433 586 152


News /

Media Release: New Board appointee

Summer Housing announced the appointment of Tobias O’Hehir to the Board of Directors. 

Tobias comes to Summer Housing with more than a decade’s experience in the professional services and legal sector. 

Tobias’ experience in guiding the growth of professional services organisations while also improving operational efficiencies, will be invaluable as Summer Housing continues to grow and improve its services for current and future tenants. 

As Summer Housing evolves, the organisation is committed to ensuring people with disability have access to housing and services that supports independence, inclusion, choice, and control. A staunch advocate for diversity and inclusion with lived experience of disability, Tobias will also chair the Board’s newly established Tenant Advisory Committee, to ensure the voice of Summer Housing tenants is strongly represented at the Board table. 

Tobias joins Chairman Chris Leptos AO and existing Summer Housing Board members Wendy Brooks, Professor Rosemary Calder AM, Adrian Harrington, John McLeod, Robert Pradolin, and Dr Di Winkler AM. 

In welcoming Tobias to the Summer Housing board, Chris Leptos said, “we are very pleased to welcome Tobias to our team. His extensive experience navigating complex systems and organisations 

will be invaluable as Summer Housing evolves to deliver high-quality services to our current and future tenants ”. 

Tobias will support Summer Housing to remain at the forefront of providing housing that enables independent living for people living with a disability. Summer Housing has developed 374 new apartments throughout Australia with a further 70 dwellings in the pipeline to accommodate more than 450 people living with disability. 

Summer Housing has contributed to ensuring Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a sustainable asset class and is the largest sponsor of new-build SDA dwellings in Australia. To do this, Summer Housing has been at the forefront of partnering with investors to develop quality, independent living accommodation. 

For Media comments contact:

Elyse Gatt | Senior Associate | MICHELSON ALEXANDER

M 61 433 586 152