People looking to invest in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) homes and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) properties need to research all aspects says Larissa Bridge, operations manager SDA and specialist services at Home in Place.
The organisation has more than 35 years’ experience disability housing. It is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit, non-government social housing providers and provides property and tenancy management for people with disabilities, among others, in Queensland, NSW and New Zealand and has recently expanded into Victoria.
Ms Bridge says investing in these purpose-built homes is becoming increasingly popular because it provides a social benefit as well as true choice and control for NDIS participants.
“SDA homes allow people with disabilities to live more independently with support in local communities rather than in institutions,” Ms Bridge says.
Home in Place doesn’t build its own properties. Ms Bridge works with developers and investors such as foundations, superannuation funds, social impact funds, as well as mum and dad investors, providing realistic information to help ensure developments are viable.
”Successful projects blend what is viable with the reality of functional and operational aspects to meet residents’ needs,” she says.
“Instead of a build it and they will come approach, we match developers and investors with what we know NDIS participants are looking for and what their funding permits.”
Ms Bridge says a common problem, is that there can be a disconnect between where the properties are built, and where the need is.
“Developers may buy cheap land in a new estate, build the homes and sell them to investors. The homes, however, may be far from the supports such as transport, hospitals and day programs that people with a disability need.
“It is vital there are disability support workers to provide supported independent living care too.”
“We don’t make people fit bricks and mortar. We have a person-centred approach which, in turn, minimises vacancy rates.
Home in Place has partnerships with builders and developers who specialise in NDIS investment that it connects to investors and to NDIS participants on its lists.
“They introduce me to their investor base, and we have information sessions so people know what they are getting into before they proceed.
“SDA housing is funded by the NDIS for a limited number of people with very high support needs. There are a range of SDA property types and design standards for each.
“The latest quarterly report by the National Disability Insurance Agency shows SDA supply is increasing, particularly in the High Physical Support design category, but most eligible participants want an improved liveability category property.”
Home in Place manages housing for 1500 people with a disability. It receives about 1000 SDA enquiries a year and can usually accommodate about 200 people a year. This year it has assisted 75 people. Another 60 are waiting for their properties to be completed.