A new initiative in Newcastle is allowing young people with disabilities to move out of aged-care homes and into purpose-built, age-appropriate accommodation.

Funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), non-profit foundation Summer Housing purchased ten apartments in a 110-unit building in Belmont, New South Wales, and modified them to suit clients with disabilities. An additional apartment accommodates an office and sleepover space for disability support workers.

Specialist Disability Accommodation payments give accommodation owners a secure and commercial income stream. Additionally, these payments cover the disability modifications needed on each apartment and ongoing maintenance costs. 

The funding has the potential of freeing up aged-care homes as Australia’s population ages, and will allow younger people with disabilities to live independently. Most of these young people, with the right accommodation and assistance, could live in the community without the constant help from nursing home staff.  

This is not the first housing project for Summer Housing. In 2013, they established six fully-accessible, self-contained, one-bedroom apartments for people with disabilities within an existing 59-unit building in inner-Melbourne.

They have also purchased 11 apartments in a 77-unit project in Melbourne’s Fairfield. It is currently being developed.  

Summer Housing is one of three strategic areas that parent organisation Summer Foundation addresses. The Summer Foundation aims to change human service policy and practice related to young people in nursing homes.