News 19 February 2015

Housing: the big sleeper


What is the plan for housing

Anyone with a disability will tell you that finding affordable, accessible housing is next to impossible. There are huge wait lists, too many young people in nursing homes and growing numbers of older parents despairing what will happen to their children when they can’t care for them anymore.

The NDIS is supposed to fix this and provide the housing people need. How they propose to do this will hopefully be revealed when the Housing paper that has been delayed for 2 years is released.

The infographic above (text also below) sums up the problem. This is not an issue that can be ignored any longer – we need to plan for the housing needs of people with disability now so they can be accommodated once the NDIS rolls out across Australia.

TAKE ACTION: Take 1 minute to ask the NDIA to release their Disability Housing Options paper.

Infographic content:

What is the plan for housing

There is a housing crisis looming for people with disability

Right now there are:

  • massive waiting lists for accessible and affordable housing
  • 6,381 young people in old people’s homes[1]
  • a growing number of ageing parents: 78,000 in 2012, 52,000 in 2003, who despair about what will happen to their children when they pass away or can no longer support their child.[2]

The NDIS is rolling out. By 2020, there will be 122,000 NDIS participants without affordable housing.[3]

We need to plan for affordable housing supply. Now.

[1] Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011), Younger people with disability in residential aged care,

[2] Source: ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2003 and ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2012.

[3] Bonyhady, B (2013), The National Disability Insurance Schemesupporting participants to gain appropriate housing with quality support, presentation to NDS Disability Support Living Innovation Forum 21/10/13


Join the conversation

  • dave

    My wife and I thought we’d be smart and mortgage our home and buy a cheap unit for our son who has an Intellectual Disability, were in our 60s and retired and the waiting lists are long. We were wrong my pension was cut by 50% because I own and now rent out an investment property….Thank god the interest rates are low at the moment as my son helps with some of the repayments from his pension, The only investment there is, is peace of mind for my wife and I and another spot the Government doesn’t have to worry about in Disability Housing. There should be some sort of dispensation available if the property is being utilised for Housing a person with a Disability as the property is for him when we pass on.

    • Lyn

      Centrelink does have a Special Disability Trust for such circumstances however the rules are complex and you need to set the unit up in a Trust for your son. May be worth looking into. Lyn

  • chelle snail

    Exactly what Dave said. The government have no right to halve a pension of aged parents who are helping their disabled child get a house of their own, taking the burden off the housing dept. I hope the government is reading this! Dave, I think we should get together a petition to fight to change this so that disability supporters like yourself are exempt from the means testing thing, so very wrong they did this to you.

  • lilly

    Hi Dave I understand the problem that you’re having and think I may be able to help you with some information. There is a special type of disability trust that you can create for your son. You can put the house and some cash in the trust. The cash can be used to maintain the house for repairs or maintenance or rates. I don’t know if this will work in your particular circumstance but I suggest you contact Centrelink and asked to speak to a financial information officer, they will be able to send you details of this type of trust. Best of luck with it.

  • Deb Rouget

    The Skinner family had a vision to support their son Cameron to live in their own home. Watch this inspiring video Home and Belonging!

  • wayne

    The NDIS appears to be yet again another disappointment for people with disabilities and there family/ carers. The housing crisis is nothing new and one of the biggest hurdles for people with disabilities becoming truly independent and having choice and control over there life! the very things NDIS was supposed to bring. How can the government continue to ignore this crisis. So many families rallied for a better system to solve this crisis and the desperate need for supported housing and care for there adult children before they die. So many are simply exhausted from being lifelong carers and dare I say may wish to relax and have the same right to a retirement that other Australians enjoy. They want to see there loved ones safe and being cared for in a home of there own. Governments continue to leave families bearing the responsibility of providing a home and care for there adult children, parents that have raised their children with little to no services and supports for a lifetime.

  • Jennifer Khan

    For some inspiration and even (gasp) government funding check out Benambra Intentional Community in the ACT – clearly more enlighted than their compadres in Victoria

    Anyone interested in Melbourne to set up such a community contact me
    Bearing in mind that Benambra was ten years in the making

  • Brett McPherson

    Hi all, I posted earlier but had difficulties replying to emails. Our plan is to group families together to create a permanent home for our kids. They’ll pay no rent, share expenses, have lifelong friends and stay within the same community. I won’t be easy to get the mix right but the more people that band together the greater the options. It will be a much better choice than leaving our children in the hands of the government.
    We’re in Queenscliff / Freshwater in Sydney. Email us at or
    If that fails text me on 0416 804168.

    • Natalie Davenport

      That’s awesome! Have emailed you