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Media Release: Board Transition & Management Update

Summer Housing is at the forefront of providing quality housing that ensures independent living for people living with disability. We have developed over 300 new apartments throughout Australia with a further 144 in the pipeline to accommodate more than 450 people living with disabilities. Summer Housing has contributed to ensuring Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a sustainable sector. To do this, Summer Housing has been at the forefront of partnering with investors to develop quality, independent living accommodation.

After five years as Chair of the Summer Housing Board, Simon McKeon AO has stepped down, and Chris Leptos AO has been elected Chair with the full support of Simon and the Board of Directors.

Simon McKeon has led the Board through an extraordinary period of growth and success since taking on the role of Chair in 2017 and we are grateful for his significant contribution to the organisation and to the sector. Chris Leptos brings a wealth of corporate, not for profit and government experience to his role as Chair of the Board of Summer Housing.

Meredith Beattie and Trevor Danos AM have also stepped down from the Board of Directors after making outstanding contributions. We particularly thank Trevor for his leadership of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee over the last four and a half years.

The Summer Housing Board comprises Professor Rosemary Calder AM, Wendy Brooks, Robert Pradolin, John McLeod, Dr Di Winkler AM and Chris Leptos AO and is currently recruiting Director candidates who will support Summer Housing through its next phase of growth.

We thank Simon, Trevor and Meredith for their service and wish them every future success.

Over the last ten months, Melinda van der Westhuizen has commenced a strategic review of the organisation as CEO at Summer Housing, working with the Board and Executive to help pave the way for a stronger and more sustainable organisation.

As we embark on the next stage of organisational maturity Melinda has decided to move into a new strategic advisory role, working alongside an Interim CEO, to help drive the implementation of recommendations arising from the review. As such, Tim Scott has been appointed Interim CEO of Summer Housing, effective the 16th September, 2022. Tim is moving into the Interim role from his General Manager Development position at Summer Housing and has previously held COO and leadership roles in the health sector.

The Board thanks Melinda for her service and will soon commence the recruitment of a permanent CEO for Summer Housing.

For Media comments contact:

Elyse Gatt | Senior Associate | MICHELSON ALEXANDER

M 61 433 586 152


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Lisa’s story: “… I can set the same goals just like everyone else… ”


Lisa grew up in the Victorian bayside suburb of Frankston with her three children. Following an incident in 2012, Lisa acquired a severe brain injury. This resulted in her having quadriplegia and bulbar dysfunction and now requires a high level of assistance for all activities of daily living.  

After 7 long years of finding myself trapped in a nursing home, I had one goal in life…and that was to get out of Aged Care. When I moved in, I didn’t know what was happening to me and no one bothered to tell me…I wanted to leave and every day I felt like killing myself. I wanted to be treated like a human being. I wanted an ordinary life. Determined and motivated, I accomplished what many others in my situation desire to have for themselves.

I chose my Summer Housing apartment because of its’ close proximity to where I lived prior to my brain injury, so it felt like home. I was over the moon about moving into my apartment. After years of enduring life in Aged Care which I would describe as ‘living in hell’, I finally experienced a sense of freedom when I moved in. What I love most about where I live is the community and how nice and friendly the people are in this area. It’s one of life’s pleasures to be able to meet new people, connect and make friends. Now I have that opportunity and I can look forward to inviting them over to my place and regain my social life. In the nursing home, I didn’t have any friends, but what’s worse is there was no opportunity to make any friends. In Aged Care, I didn’t know what was happening to me and no one bothered to tell me. Living in my apartment, I now have the control to make my own plans when I want to, and where I want to.

I worry about other people in the same situation. So many people feel the way I do. I don’t just want to improve my own situation – I want to help other people. I’m a person with the same rights as everyone else to live the life I want. Those rights have been taken away from me and I want them back. I want to share with others going through what I went through, that there is an option to live independently and gain back your freedom. I want to tell them they can do it!

As previously mentioned, my one goal originally was to get out of Aged Care. Now I have achieved that goal, I’m not just able to set new goals in my life, but I can set the same goals just like everyone else…like making new friends, going out dancing, listening to Rock and Roll…oh and best of all, getting out there to barrack for my No. 1 footy team – the Carlton Blues!

Lisa, Aged 45, VIC tenant

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5 minutes with Summer Housing’s Tenancy Support Manager in SA, Sophie Moore


  • How long have you been with Summer Housing? 

I joined the Summer Housing team in April this year (2021).

  • What is your role? 

As Tenancy Support Manager for SA, my role primarily involves supporting our tenants with the transition into their new home and ensuring the success of their tenancy with Summer Housing into the future. I therefore keep in touch with tenants regularly during the transition phase to provide updates and work with the tenant and their team to arrange for any required customisations to be completed either before they move into their new home, or as soon as possible afterwards. Once tenants have moved in, I am their main point of contact for any issues that may arise and will continue to check in with tenants to get their feedback and assist them as required.

  • What do you love most about your job?

I absolutely love seeing when tenants have the opportunity to move into Summer Housing’s beautiful apartments. Witnessing their excitement at the time of the move and the life changing benefits that come about from living in housing that meets their needs, is so uplifting and satisfying to see!

This job enables me to play an important part in this sometimes long and challenging but very worthwhile journey for our tenants and for that I feel very privileged.

  • What does a typical day look like? 

I’ll usually start the day with my decaf coffee followed by responding to emails and phone calls from tenants and other stakeholders.

Often I’ll also do a site visit to help coordinate a quote for a customisation or show a prospective tenant through Penny Place, which is the first of Summer Housing’s projects to be completed here in Adelaide.

I have regular catch ups with our colleagues at the Summer Foundation, who do our tenancy matching work for us, to find out about any new applicants or engagement activities we plan to collaborate on together. Most days I’ll usually also make calls to tenants and prospective tenants to check in with how things are going from their perspective, as well as to Occupational Therapists and/or Support Coordinators working with our tenants, who are either in the process of assisting our tenants to secure the appropriate level of funding from the NDIS to live in Specialist Disability Accommodation or are  requesting customisations of our apartments. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the phone to plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople recently as well, however now that we have a new Property and Tenancy Manager appointed, she will be taking care of arranging quotes for customisations and repairs and maintenance, so this should reduce a bit.

As a team we also have regular sessions with our colleagues at Summer Housing, to provide each other with sector updates, upskilling and training and very importantly the moral support that we have all needed, especially through these recently challenging times.

  • What is one story/moment in your job that really made you proud? 

One of our tenants who moved into an apartment at Penny Place recently has a progressive neuromuscular disease and had been hospitalised for the previous 12 months with nowhere suitable to discharge. I had been told when I met her before she moved into Penny Place that she was institutionalised, did not have the opportunity to access the community or spend time with her partner or children and was non-verbal.

When I ran into her in the lobby at Penny Place a few weeks after she moved in, you can imagine my surprise when she made eye contact with me and responded to my greeting with a big clear emphatic “Hello”. I’m told she has also started saying quite a few other things since moving into Penny Place and she looks so much more engaged and happy compared to when I first met her before she moved in. The day I met her in the lobby, she had also just come back from a walk through the botanic gardens on a beautiful spring day and prior to having a disability, this is something she had always enjoyed.

I’ve since been up to this tenant’s apartment and she has really settled in well with a large TV for watching music videos and movies, which is something else I’m told she really likes to do, surrounded by family and she was smiling and actively interacting with them. The change that living in our apartment has made to this tenant really highlights to me why we are here at Summer Housing doing what we are doing and makes me feel immensely proud.

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Are you considering Customisations to your home or looking for items to enable greater independence through fashion & lifestyle products?


My name is Hannah Pennington, a Tenancy Support Officer in VIC for Summer Housing who is also a woman living with disability. I thought that I would share a few websites which I have found personally helpful when it comes to homewares, clothing, assistive tech and even food! Because, let’s be honest – during lockdowns and various COVID restrictions who doesn’t love a good online shop? (Hint: me!)

I’ve included for each of these online stores where you may be able to use NDIS funding. My advice would be: if you’ve found an item or items which you believe align with the Reasonable & Necessary criteria but your funding is Agency Managed – go ahead and ask your Support Coordinator or LAC to request the NDIA to adjust some or all of your Core funding to Plan or Self-Managed so that you are able to access a wider range of adaptive and functional products to support you. Functional, adaptive & beautiful products should be made available for everyone.

Now – happy shopping!

Averee is my personal favourite – a website which stocks clothing, homewares, personal care items, lifestyle & living products, sports & outdoor products and even modified food. Averee advertises that “function is important, but so is design” and they couldn’t be more on the money. Their products are targeted to people living with various disabilities but don’t give off an obvious “hospital” or “care facility” vibe (hello rose gold handrails!).

If you’re considering low level assistive tech for your home, look no further. Averee is not an NDIS registered provider so, only self and plan-managed funding can be used for their products at this stage (and to consider the Reasonable & Necessary criteria prior to purchase using NDIS funding).

DoAbility offer assistive tech and functional products for your entire home – anything related to your bedroom, bathroom, seating, mobility & kid’s products. DoAbility have been providing functional and healthcare equipment for almost 20 years and do it well.

They offer sales, trial & rentals of their products so that you can ensure you are finding the right product for you. Located in VIC but with showrooms in VIC & NSW, you can attend trials & demos of the products that you’re interested in. Unlike Averee, DoAbility is an NDIS registered provider which means that participants with agency-managed funding are also able to access their products.

Every Human specialise in adaptive and accessible fashion, footwear & lifestyle products for people living with disability.

They have a wide range of products for Men, Women and kids with specific options for clothing: Easy Closures, Ease of Dressing, Seated Wear & Adaptive Footwear. Their lifestyle products are also available to browse in specific criteria such as: Dexterity, Sensory & Mobility which makes searching for product relevant to you really simple. Special shoutout to their Books range which features authors living with disability and kids’ books with targeted messages such as Disability, Optimism & Body Image.

EveryHuman is not an NDIS registered provider (yet, as stated on their website) so you’ll only be able to make purchased with your self or plan-managed funding at this stage.

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Summer Housing Appoints Melinda van der Westhuizen as CEO

Summer Housing today announced the appointment of Melinda van der Westhuizen as Chief Executive Officer.

Melinda joins Summer Housing from ISPT where she has served as General Manager, Commercial Services, leading the operational, strategic and investment management of a $10 billion portfolio of office and education assets on behalf of industry superannuation investors.  Prior to this role, Melinda accumulated extensive experience in property investment and asset management.

The Chairman of Summer Housing, Mr Simon McKeon AO said: “Following an extensive search, the board is delighted to appoint Melinda as Summer Housing’s new CEO. We look forward to working with her to take the organisation to the next level and to continue to meet the accommodation needs of those who live with a disability.

Melinda’s authentic leadership capability, broad property expertise and values alignment is an ideal fit for Summer Housing as we look to grow and diversify our product offering and successfully manage our substantial national specialist disability accommodation portfolio.”

Ms van der Westhuizen said “I am thrilled to be joining Summer Housing to combine my passion for purpose with more than 25 years of property executive experience. Summer Housing has pioneered a new approach to investment in high quality housing choices for people with disability and with strong support from impact investors, has re-set the standard in this growth sector.  I am proud to be appointed CEO of Summer Housing to lead the team, work with the Board and financiers to continue to build scale and expand the model of creating homes and changing lives.”

Melinda will commence with Summer Housing in November 2021 taking over from Summer Housing Chief Operating Officer Queenie Tran who has been acting in this role since 1 September 2021.  The Board thanks Queenie for her important contribution in this period.

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Summer Housing Announces CEO Dan McLennan Stepping Down



Summer Housing today announced that founding CEO Dan McLennan will be stepping down after 4 years in the role at the end of this month. 

The Chairman of Summer Housing, Mr Simon McKeon AO said: “The Board and I sincerely thank Dan for his outstanding contribution and leadership over the last 4 years.  He has taken Summer Housing from concept to reality as a leading provider of Specialist Disability Accommodation generating positive impact at scale across Australia.”

Summer Housing was established in 2017 with an ambitious vision to increase the scale and range of housing options for people with disability and complex care requirements with at least 300 dwellings to be commissioned in its first 5 years.  In doing so, Summer Housing would act as pioneer for the roll out of Specialist Disability Accommodation under the NDIS and meaningfully contribute to ensuring that younger people with disability are not forced to live in residential aged care.

Mr McKeon said: “Under Dan’s leadership, Summer Housing has surpassed these initial targets ahead of time with over 430 dwellings commissioned across Australia, successfully stewarding more than $350M of institutional investment into the emerging sector. More importantly, he has navigated numerous obstacles and leaves us with a highly passionate and skilled national team which has grown to 24 people, and is delivering life changing housing outcomes for people with disability.

All of this has been achieved in a part-time capacity which is a testament to his commitment, passion and work ethic.”

Mr McLennan said: “Having now successfully scaled our housing model, there are exciting opportunities ahead of Summer Housing to continue to diversify its offering whilst successfully managing its substantial portfolio.  With this in mind, now is the right time for a new CEO to take the organisation to the next level.”

“It has been an absolute privilege to lead Summer Housing and collaborate with so many passionate and talented people.  In this regard, I would like to thank Simon and the Board of Directors who have given me unwavering support and invaluable counsel over the past four years. I would also like thank the outstanding team at Summer Housing together with our financiers, developer partners, property managers, government and industry stakeholders who have collectively contributed to what has been an incredibly successful and personally rewarding experience.”

“Most importantly, I would like to thank our tenants. You’re the reason Summer Housing exists. The kindness, friendship and inspiration you’ve consistently extended to me and our team is hugely appreciated and I’m enormously proud to have had the opportunity to lead a team committed every day to creating better lives to people with disability.”

Summer Housing has commenced the process to appoint the company’s new CEO with a further announcement to follow in due course.  Importantly, whilst Dan will finish his tenure at the end of this month, he has kindly agreed to continue to provide ongoing support for a smooth handover and continuity of operations and performance. Summer Housing Chief Operating Officer Queenie Tran will serve as Acting CEO from 1 September 2021.



News, Publications /

Summer Housing 2019/2020 Annual Report

It has been a landmark year for Summer Housing together with our partners, stakeholders and supporters as we reached our initial goal to commission 300 dwellings for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) dwellings. Importantly, we have achieved this milestone two years ahead of target, delivering much needed housing for younger people living in or at risk of admission to residential aged care.