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Summer Housing 2021/2022 Annual Report

We are pleased to release our annual report for 2021/2022.

We’d like to acknowledge with special appreciation the many individuals and organisations who have helped us on our mission to provide high quality housing to enable independence and community inclusion. We are deeply grateful for your continued support.

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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

E: Elyse@michelsonalexander.com.au


News /

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

E: Elyse@michelsonalexander.com.au


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

E: Elyse@michelsonalexander.com.au


News /

Media Release: Summer Housing announces new Board Director and Company Secretary

Summer Housing today announced the appointment of Mr Adrian Harrington to the Board of Directors.

As the current Head of Wholesale Investor Relations and Fund Raising at Charter Hall, Adrian comes to Summer Housing with over 30 years of experience in the funds management and real estate sectors.

Adrian is also the Chair of the Federal Government’s National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) and past Chair of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

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

In welcoming Adrian to Summer Housing, Chris Leptos said, “we are very pleased to welcome Adrian to our team. His extensive experience of working at the senior levels of Australia’s funds management industry and in the real estate sector will be invaluable as Summer Housing moves to its next phase of growth”.

Summer Housing is also pleased to announce Ms Fiona Chomley as its new Company Secretary.

Fiona joins Summer Housing from genU, and has extensive experience in the health, disability and insurance sectors, having worked as a Company Secretary on not-for-profit and public sector boards.

The new appointees will support Summer Housing to remain at the forefront of providing housing that enables independent living for people living with a disability. Summer Housing have developed over 300 new apartments throughout Australia with a further 144 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

E: Elyse@michelsonalexander.com.au


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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

E: Elyse@michelsonalexander.com.au


News /

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.com.au

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.com.au

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.

EveryHuman.com.au

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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