State-owned group homes in Western Australia will soon be enrolled as Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) properties under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
NDIS allows State-owned group homes to be enrolled as SDA, with 300-400 group homes expected to be enrolled.
The Department of Communities (Communities) currently manages 35 homes, with the remainder managed by disability and community housing providers.
Initially, Communities will enrol the homes that are currently managed by the agency, enabling some 150 NDIS participants to access their SDA entitlements.
Communities will continue to work with the community housing and disability sector providers to facilitate the enrolment of the remaining State-owned group homes.
Once all State-owned group homes are enrolled it is expected to generate approximately $4 million of SDA funding entitlements into WA annually that will directly benefit people with disability who need a specialised housing solution due to their high support needs.
Funding generated through SDA will be invested to modify, maintain, refurbish and redevelop existing group homes, or build additional SDA.
To inform the transition to SDA, Communities established an SDA Reference Group, comprising people with disability, disability advocacy groups, peak bodies, DevelopmentWA and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
A Technical Advisory Group, comprising the 14 community housing and disability sector providers who are currently managing State-owned groups, Shelter WA, National Disability Services WA and the NDIA, was established to provide input, particularly around the enrolment of State-owned homes.
Consultation has also been undertaken with housing industry representatives, private SDA providers and representatives from the SDA Alliance, an alliance of new build SDA providers.
As stated by Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson
“The State Government wants to enable all eligible Western Australians to have the opportunity to activate their SDA entitlements, so they have greater choice and control over their housing and support arrangements.
“The State Government is committed to ensuring that people with disability, their families and carers and the disability sector in WA maximise the benefits of the NDIS.
“People with disability who are eligible for SDA funding face considerable barriers accessing appropriate accommodation options. By registering as an SDA provider and allowing State-owned group homes to be enrolled, the WA Government is providing a measure of certainty and reassurance to people with disability, their families and carers that they have not previously had.
“Enrolling State-owned group homes as SDA will benefit the people living in them, the regions with scarce disability accommodation options and will increase housing options for people with complex support needs.
“The enrolment of State-owned housing as SDA under the NDIS is an initial step on a path to greater choice and control for people living in these homes. No changes to current arrangements will occur without full and complete consultation with all stakeholders.”
As stated by Housing Minister Peter Tinley:
“I’m pleased that funding generated through SDA will be re-invested back into the sector to improve existing homes and create new accommodation options for people with complex needs.
“SDA is a great initiative that is helping create housing choice for people with very high needs. We will keep working with industry to stimulate a viable SDA market in WA, with a range of providers to meet a range of needs.
“Not only will this benefit people with disability, it will also provide job opportunities for many Western Australians and support the WA Recovery Plan”.