Not Just Ramps and Doorways

Disability Housing is About Choosing Where, How and Who You Live With

Home ownership among young people is falling sharply, while renters face worrying insecurity. Nowhere is this more pronounced than for the 4.4 million Australians living with a disability and, in particular, the 660,000 plus Australians with an intellectual disability.

For the majority of these people, owning a home is impossible without financial support from their families. With the loss of this support, they can find themselves in precarious or even abusive situations. Stuck in a cycle of temporary accommodation or forced into group homes (or even nursing homes) with little control over where and who they live with.

If the entire premise of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is to give people more choice and autonomy over their lives, then that must extend to people’s fundamental needs for appropriate housing. To uphold the access and inclusion rights of people with a disability, their housing needs must be a priority.

This research article goes some way to raising awareness of this issue and identifying design-led solutions to support a co-housing pilot project. One that is cognisant of the relationships between mental health and natural environments, activity centres and convenience equity, and the benefits of living in proximity with others.

The Alastair Swayn Foundation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians on the land of which we work, the Ngunnawal people of the ACT. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

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