In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000

Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call


Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700


24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Housing and Tenancy

Considering what and where ‘home’ will be, is one of the big questions that has no quick or easy answer. People with disability live in all sorts of different living arrangements in the community. Every property and support arrangement is as unique as the person living in it.

The Having a Home Forum on Housing Options for People With Disability

Having a Home Forum Report

On Friday 16 November 2018, the ACT Office for Disability brought together people from throughout the ecosystem of housing for people with disability for a day of exchanging ideas and opportunities. The day brought together people with disability, families and carers, community services, financiers, lawyers, housing specialists, developers and innovators.

Please see below for a video and summary of each presentation, slides (where available), and other relevant information. Additional information and resources shared at the Having a Home Forum are also listed below.

People who wish to continue the conversation about housing options for people with disability are invited to:


Ministers introduction

Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith (Minister for Disability)

Session 1: Bricks, mortar, supply and demand

This session was for all community members, including people with disability and their families interested in learning more about Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding, ACT Government policy levers and the experiences of interstate counterparts. The information focused on the role of developers, builders, investors, financiers, lawyers, community housing providers, disability specialist providers.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Presented by Toni McInnes, The National Disability Insurance Agency

  • What is Specialist Disability Accommodation?
  • What are the opportunities presented by SDA?
  • What does the data say about the size of SDA demand in the ACT?
  • What factors, if any, could support an increase in SDA supply/uptake in the ACT?

Slides: NDIS - Housing and SDA - November 2018
Link: Specialist Disability Accommodation


Working with SDA funding to deliver housing for people with disability

Presented by Dan McLennan, CEO, Summer Housing (Melbourne)

  • How is Summer Housing delivering housing solutions for people with disability across Australia?
  • What combination of factors have enabled SDA development in other parts of Australia and what can the ACT learn?

Slides: Working with SDA funding to deliver housing for people with disability
Links (Summer Foundation):


The current landscape of disability housing in the ACT

Introduced by Minister Yvette Berry (Minister for Housing)

  • The ACT Government’s commitment to facilitating access to a variety of housing options for people with disability in the ACT community.

The role of Housing ACT

Louise Gilding, Executive Director, Housing ACT

  • ACT Government commitment to the new Housing Strategy.


The ACT Housing Strategy and the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund

Elizabeth Howell Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate

  • Summary of the ACT Housing Strategy – including commitments to Affordable Housing
  • Information about the upcoming “Round 2” of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund

Slides: Housing StrategyExternal Link


Legal and financing options

Presented by Tony Rutherford, Moores (Melbourne)

  • What are the options for organisations (such as specialist disability services) to utilise their existing real estate assets?
  • Partnerships between equity holders, developers and people with disability
  • Options for people with disability not eligible for SDA – using blended return to create affordable accessible housing options.
  • Different development models discussed included:
    • SDA projects backed by institutional (equity) funds
    • Blended SDA projects with developer equity / bank debt or mixed-equity (family and investor money)
    • Transferring existing residents previously funded under state programs
    • Non-SDA models including: interest free loans to individuals; disability service providers; blended models and build-to-rent schemes.

Slides: Legal and Finance OptionsExternal Link

Learning from the Hunter Experience

Presented by Kirk Robinson, BFIN investment bank (Sydney)

  • Lessons from the BFIN/Lighthouse Infrastructure Hunter experience delivering the NSW Government tender to provide supported accommodation for people exiting the Stockton Residential Centre.
  • Lessons for developing and delivering housing solutions for people with disability in Canberra.
  • Bringing people with disability together with investors.

NOTE: Please note at approximately the 20 minute mark of this video, the presenter makes a claim in error, stating there is $125,000 available to individuals through the ACT Housing Strategy Innovation Fund – however this information is inaccurate, and has been subsequently corrected. The accurate information is that Round 2 of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund (as a part of the ACT Housing Strategy) will include a category allocating a total of $125,000 for projects that increase the supply of affordable accommodation suitable for people with a disability. This funding is intended to provide seed funding for pilot project/s that may be suitable for scaling or replication, rather than necessarily providing direct support for an individual’s construction project.

Slides: SDA Disability Housing and Learning from the HunterExternal Link


Session 2: What’s working already?

This session used a fast-paced “pitch” approach to hear about a wide range of models, services and approaches.

Housing Support Coordinator Services + Preparing for Change

Presented by Court Walters, Araluen Services (Melbourne)

  • Investigating housing solutions for people with disability.
  • The role of Investigating Housing Solutions (IHS) specialist support coordinators.
  • A summary of the various models of housing options for people with disability.
  • Using your NDIS plan to request support coordination funding for Investigating Housing Solutions.
  • Preparing housing plans, working with allied health, interpreting the SDA rules and developing a report to test eligibility for SDA.
  • Features of the “Improved Liveability” and the “Robust” SDA categories
  • Challenges to accessing SDA
  • Synchronising IHS support coordination with other types of support coordination.


The Vibe – using existing equity to build SDA dwellings

Presented by Elaine and Brian Michaels with LiveBetter (Wagga)

  • Elaine and Brian describe their journey with daughter Kristen, to build an accessible SDA dwelling in Wagga.
  • Housemates – the process of considering housemates
  • Financing – the steps in the financing journey – using self-managed superannuation
  • SDA – the process of becoming assessed for SDA
  • Getting the house registered as an SDA dwelling
  • Working with Liveable Housing Australia in the design process.

Links: The Vibe of the Thing (How the NDIS helped build a castle)External Link

Investing for Security of Tenure

Presented by Hugh Packard, CEO, Valmar Support Services
Hugh Packard describes a model used by Valmar to facilitate purchasing of homes for people with disability either independently or with house mates – where each participant contributes to the deposit for the house and then the rent is calculated to cover the mortgage repayments.


Using technology to find a home and housemates

Presented by Neil Skipper, Managing Director, Havelock Housing Association

  • Describing Havelock House’s Disability Housing Hub which:
    • Provides resources and information about housing models for people with disability
    • Provides a vacancy listing of specialist housing for people with disability
    • Is developing a process and infrastructure to facilitate people with disability coming together with developers to explore housing options.


Mixed tenancy and creating community

Presented by Sally Richards (parent of Jackson West) and Eric Thauvette, CEO, Hartley

  • Describes the Benambra Intentional Community including a mixed tenancy intentional community, co-residency model and partnership with Hartley Lifecare.



Innovative models for living in your own home

Presented by Dougie Herd, Executive Director, Community Connections

  • Dougie described the challenges of voluntary building codes, and contrasted with compulsory accessible design requirements in the UK.



Presented by Sally Gibson, Director, Quality, Complaints and Regulation, CSD

  • Sally presented on the legal and regulatory aspects of safeguards to keep in mind when seeking accommodation or services for people with disability.
  • The importance of a clear agreement with the housing provider that covers tenancy, occupancy and purchase/ownership agreement including provisions if you wish to change your support provider or housing arrangement.

Slides: SafeguardsExternal Link


Wraparound SDA development services

Presented by Owen Jourdian, Illowra Services (Victoria)

  • Owen describes the work of Illowra Projects for helping families become the developers for individual or family home ownership including advice, person-centred design, project management and property management.

Slides: Illowra Projects Shared Family OwnershipExternal Link


National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of funding individualised support for people with disability including psychosocial disability that involves more choice and control and a lifetime approach to the person’s support needs.

To find out more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme:
Visit the national website: Link
Call the NDIA on 1800 800 110

  • TTY users phone 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 800 110
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1800 555 727 and ask for 1800 800 110
  • Internet Relay users connect to the National Relay Service at and ask for 1800 800 110


The practical aspects of property planning
A Place to Call Home: Thinking it Through (Mamre - Pave the Way, Queensland) External Link

Practical aspects of property
Special Disability Trusts Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2006) External Link
Tenants Union ACT External Link