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Supported Disability Accommodation Is an Emerging Frontier in Business Growth for Providers

Overview

There is a growing need for suitable housing for the thousands of Australians living with disabilities. This has been a long-running concern for both local, state and national government. In line with the principles, vision and mission of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Supported Disability Accommodation was set up to allow Australians living with a disability the privilege to:

  • Fully exercise choice and control
  • Participate in, and contribute to, the society
  • Live and ordinary life

To meet the objectives of the SDA, all Australians and, more importantly, providers, have to understand that the issue is not just about providing more housing. While this remains essential, providing suitable housing requires providers to understand that people with disability are not a homogeneous group. They have varying needs, tastes and preferences. Until this has been factored in, the quality of lifestyle for participants will always be wanting.

 

Nudging Providers into SDA

Right now the goal of SDA funding is to encourage potential providers to register with NDIS and invest in the development of new high-quality housing units that meet the needs of participants with varying disabilities. At this point, you should be reminded that SDA funding is not the conventional support funding that caters for services. SDA funding is more of a capital funding (for brick and mortar). While the Supported Independent Living provider (SIL) assists with matters relating to household budget and community participation, an SDA provider handles matters such as: setting and collection of rent; fixing damages; and maintaining the home.

 

Provider and Investor Tools

Interested SDA investors and providers will always have the NDIA’s support and engagement in matters relating to the SDA market. The agency will provide updated information about policies and processes relating to SDA as well as emerging markets and market niches for interested providers. As a matter of fact, this is done through what is referred to as ‘the SDA Provider and Investor Brief’. It provides information regarding:

  • Eligibility and funding levels for SDA
  • Price reviews and other funding principles
  • Dwelling standards and enrolment including work underway to develop third-party certification standards to improve confidence with compliance
  • Innovations supported by SDA funding

All these are tools that registered providers and investors can use to expand their business into new markets and increase both productivity and profitability for their organisations.

 

Investing for the Long-Term

Finally, a major concern for any investor in a relatively new model of business and/or operation such as the NDIS’s SDA is grappling with the question: “Will this model last?” The answer with regards to this is a resounding “Yes”. The SDA funding is part of the NDIS Act (2013) through the NDIS SDA Rules (2016). This makes it a long-term legislated commitment of Australia’s Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

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