Lack of accessible ‘houses to call home’: a worrying issue for elderly parents

  • 09/04/2018
Maree Ireland
Lack of accessible houses to call home

Recently I saw the story of a mother who was distraught about the future of her son with an intellectual disability. She was so distressed because of the lack of suitable accommodation for her son when she passes away, that she tried to kill both her son and herself.  Fortunately she failed but she still has this massive concern about her son’s future.

This has now become a common issue for many parents at present. The NDIS ‘Every Australian Counts’ campaign has researched this ongoing issue and has come with the following findings, which are on their EAC website:

  • There is a huge difference between what kind of housing people would like for the future and what they currently have.
  • A majority of people want to live in a home of their own (with or without formal supports) that would not involve living with people other than their immediate family.
  • Around a third would like a form of shared living such as a share house with one or two others, or community with others of similar disability.
  • No-one expressed a wish to live in a large residential centre.
  • One of the biggest concerns for older parents and their children is what will happen when the parents are no longer able to care for their child.
  • Housing affordability is a very common, strong and recurring driver and concern.
  • The most common theme of all relates to personal autonomy of people with disability. In whatever way it is expressed – and there are many ways which it is said – across every form of housing type, tenure and model of support, people say they want themselves or their family members to live in circumstances and with support models that maximise personal freedom

This campaign is calling for action on this housing issue now!

They call on all governments who share responsibility for both social housing and the NDIS to commit that:

  1. All new residential construction, at a minimum, is built according to the silver level Liveable Housing Australia accreditation standards. This would reduce the cost and increase the supply of accessible housing in Australia
  2. The NDIA uses the trial sites to test and report on new models for creating accessible disability housing with a focus on stimulating private investment in new housing stock. This trial should inform the community and policy makers of the most efficient way to increase housing options for people with disability.
  3. NDIS funding be allocated to delivering new housing for people with disability rather than maintaining existing housing stock. This will ensure a minimum of $700 million a year from 2019 will go towards increasing viable housing options for people with disability.

This campaign invites each Minister to:

  1. Meet a delegation of campaign supporters to hear firsthand about the housing challenges in their jurisdiction.
  2. Make a video statement to EAC supporters outlining their government’s plan to tackle the disability housing crisis.

IT’S TIME FOR GOVERNMENTS TO ACT.

This campaign has developed a housing action plan booklet which can be downloaded from their website. They are urging people with disabilities, their families and supporters to circulate this housing action plan far and wide to keep up the pressure for action for more accessible housing.

*** We need people with disabilities to be involved. If you need assistance to be involved, ask your support worker for their assistance to be involved in this campaign.

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