Report shows rapid but not equal growth in Specialist Disability Accommodation in Australia

Posted 2 years ago by Emily Erickson
Approximately 13,000 new SDA places now exist or are in the pipeline across Australia. [Source: iStock]
Approximately 13,000 new SDA places now exist or are in the pipeline across Australia. [Source: iStock]

The growth of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) in Australia is promising but still behind demand, according to a new report released by disability housing advocacy group the Summer Foundation.

Specialist Disability Accommodation – Supply in Australia released by Housing Hub, an initiative of the Summer Foundation, provides an update on the growth of SDA across Australia.

According to the report, approximately 13,000 new SDA places now exist or are in the pipeline – roughly 2,000 more than the same time in 2019. 

However, authors of the report also state that, despite commencing in 2016, SDA funding is currently only being paid to 54 percent of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants who are expected to be eligible.   

Summer Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and principal author on the report, Dr Di Winkler, says understanding the current plan of supply for new housing is critical to supporting SDA market development.

“Being able to live in a home that meets your needs is a fundamental human right. But in reality, too many people with a disability aren’t able to access a suitable home. As the SDA market matures, that is beginning to change,” says Dr Winkler.

“Having a picture of the current SDA pipeline allows developers and investors to plan their pipeline of projects with greater certainty.

“The continued growth of SDA supply is a finding that is sure to be welcomed by people with disability, policy makers and the sector more broadly.”

Once the unmet demand and the need to replace old disability housing with contemporary models is taken into account, the report suggests that new housing is needed for an estimated 19,000 NDIS participants over the next 10 years. 

Built off the back of two previous reports published in March 2019 and March 2020, this third report showcases results from a national survey of SDA providers between October and November 2020 about new SDA in development. 

It also includes data from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about enrolled properties to produce a comprehensive snapshot of SDA in Australia. 

Key findings in the report also include:

  • More than half of the SDA places in the national pipeline are being built in Queensland and Victoria, where in previous years SDA development had been concentrated in New South Wales.

  • Over 75 percent of the estimated number of dwellings in the pipeline around Australia will accommodate only one resident, indicating that the SDA market is moving away from larger settings that accommodate multiple residents.

  • According to survey estimates, apartments account for over half of all SDA places, followed by houses, townhouses, and then group homes.

Dr Winkler says the Summer Foundation has also recently published an SDA Explainer for Investors, which, together with the SDA reports, she hopes will provide SDA suppliers with the information they need to make informed decisions about potential projects.

“The results from this survey are really encouraging. They show that, on the whole, developers and investors are delivering a steady and growing pipeline of SDA properties for people with disability,” she says. 

“With active stewardship from the NDIA, the SDA market has the potential to deliver quality housing that meets the needs of people with disability across Australia.”

You can view the full report here.

For more information on the Summer Foundation, visit their website, or learn more about Housing Hub here.