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Housing – Innovation and Partnerships

Housing – Innovation and Partnerships

Concern over the lack of housing opportunities for people with disability, is a recurring theme within current NDIS dialogue.  The emphasis on collaborating through partnerships is a first step in exploring new and innovative approaches to improved outcomes for individuals.

The cycle of change and reform, driven by recognition of the rights of people with disability, has uncovered the inadequacy in community infrastructure to provide opportunities for individuals with disability.

The Summer Foundation and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) have embarked on innovative and accessible housing design through the purchase of limited properties in new developments, ensuring the design and fit will sustainably accommodate people with complex physical disabilities.  Enhanced with the latest assistive technology, this housing model, though limited in numbers, is laying the foundation for individuals to move into their own home to live with a higher degree of autonomy.

annecto’s partnership with both organisations, compliments the state-of-the-art living environment with a  model of inclusion facilitation and support underpinned by its Practice Framework.  In a pilot project in Melbourne’s inner suburb of Abbotsford, tenants report experiencing a definitive shift in outlook and an enhanced confidence to embrace choice and autonomy.

Adam Schickerling, General Manager – Products, Practice and Quality, agrees the results, from the four tenants participating in the original pilot, have been extremely pleasing.

“There are currently thousands of people in supported housing who would really benefit from enhanced opportunities to co-design their housing and support arrangements. Recognising people living in supported accommodation already live in their own home, they pay rent, but there are factors around this that minimize autonomy and choice.  Changing current support arrangements and delivering these differently is what will assist people to expect differently.  For some this might lead to other housing options.”

One of the key determinants of success to emerge, is to ensure it is the right time for the person to embark on change, with the right support available, to explore how they wish to live in their own home. Given the projects to date focus on those requiring support 24/7, reframing expectations and focusing on building networks to complement existing supports can contribute to individuals taking control of life areas they want to pursue. This could include connecting with opportunities in the community to restart an interest or pursue studies.

Libby Callaway, Research Project Lead at Monash University, is encouraged by the findings from the TAC’s RIPL project to date.  The Abbotsford project was the pilot in a broader rollout of the TAC’s RIPL accommodation project with further sites earmarked across Melbourne.

"The research evidence gathered by the Monash University team demonstrates the positive increases in choice making, home and community activities, and life role participation for each of the research participants given this new model of housing and support.

These improvements were seen at each time point following baseline (pre-move) data collection through until 18 months post move. This research indicated people had greater opportunity to direct everyday choice making (such as the time they got up or went to bed and the staff they worked with), engage in homemaking and social activities with increased frequency and autonomy, and build opportunities to test out new roles within home and community life within the new setting."  

annecto are  now  exploring how the findings from the new projects can benefit those currently living in supported accommodation.

“We need to get people who have been living in a supported housing environments  to start to believe they can live on their own, that it is achievable.  Applying and embedding learnings from the project to supported accommodation, is the first step. Implementing planning and facilitation to prepare for change is a major component to seeking a shift which will be sustainable.”

The practice team at annecto are developing key indicators on choice, autonomy and wellbeing as these relate to capacity to leading decisions on a person’s housing and support arrangements, asking three key questions:

How can we best assist people to build capability to take the lead in their own support arrangements?

How can we build confidence and expectations of self and others to imagine new possibilities not limited to existing housing and support options?

What coaching and mentoring may enable individuals to achieve these things?

Adam says the aim of embedding evidenced practice and models in what is considered more traditional supported/group home settings are twofold.

“We want to ensure people living in supported accommodation are equally enabled to truly live in their own home and enjoy the autonomy and choice that is possible through innovative approaches to the co-design of support”

“The coaching and mentoring provided by annecto’s Inclusion Facilitation approach, serves to improve capability which in turn may lead to people expecting more of themselves and others.”

“This alone is a new way of thinking and can significantly contribute to the prospect of people not only living differently but experiencing significant long term life changes leading to improved independence which in turn may lead to a sustainable reduction in funded support.”

annecto CEO and National Disability Services Victoria Chair, Estelle Fyffe believes a continued commitment by organisations to partner and collaborate is the way forward in seeking solutions to issues of employment and housing for people with disability.

“Funding has always been only part of the solution.  For people to experience real change, a concerted effort by all elements of the community including business, government and academia need to invest in exploring new approaches for a real return on investment in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”