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Gary Finn, the architect has worked in the design documentation and delivery of public and social housing developments since the inception of his practice in 1993. He prepared designs and documentation of community health and development projects in remote indigenous communities throughout NSW until around 2005 when the NSW government commissioned the firm to design and document Group Homes for people who live with disabilities.

General Background
In early 2000, the Department of Social Services implemented a devolution program for the care and support of people who live with disabilities. In NSW, the Department of Aging Disability and Home Care undertook a strategy to purchase and build housing which was interspersed throughout the community and became known as Group Homes for which the NSW Infrastructure SEPP was modified. That SEPP provided avenues for government agencies to expedite construction needed to meet the obvious needs. The government also implemented private not-for-profit housing strategies to assist with the diverse needs of housing people who live with disabilities across the state. 

In 2009, the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP was introduced which provided for construction of group homes as “complying development” subject to satisfying the included design schedule. The purpose was to expedite the delivery of diverse housing in the sector because of the dire housing shortage throughout NSW.

2010 saw the introduction of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and welcomed the NDIS, which introduced the further privatisation of housing specifically tailored to suit residents of NSW who live with disabilities. A diverse range of homes and housing types were welcomed, as demonstrated in the SDA Price Guide.

www.ndis.gov.au/provi...dation <https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/housing-and-living-supports-and-services/specialist-disability-accommodation>

Gary Finn provided design and documentation services for over 50 group homes between 2005 and the introduction of the NDIS, interspersed in residential areas across the state. Following a business restructure in 2016, we now provide design and documentation services to NDIS providers around Australia.

As you are aware, the N.D.I.S. is being rolled out across the country, to more than 600,000 Australians who live with disabilities.

At the moment, SDA is nearing the end of a transitional period, between two acceptable design standards. There is existing stock to consider, as well as encouraging investors to develop new stock interspersed within typical residential precincts.

Done well, the NDIS provides an empowerment opportunity to enable NDIS recipients to make informed decisions about their own future, for the very first time.

The NDIS targets the needs of people who are young. Eligible recipients of NDIS planning are sometimes young people who are living in aged care accommodation because there are no other options available. The NDIS recognises that this accommodation is not particularly appropriate for younger people who have their own aspirations and desires, perhaps exactly like their peers who do not live with a disability, and like them, they would choose if they could, to live near friends and family, interspersed throughout residential neighbourhoods across the state.


There has been considerable interest by the private sector in providing SDA, because of the potential for higher rental returns supported by NDIS funds allocated to individual recipients. Our view of the growing interest is clear. At some point in time, there will be an oversupply of SDA on the market. Recipients of SDA funding will eventually have a choice of housing to occupy. What would you choose? It seems obvious that the better developments, offering a home environment in which a recipient can participate in everyday life, will be the homes that are occupied.

We, therefore, encourage developers to consider these risks.

Firstly, we encourage developers to recognise that their substantial investment should remain viable with or without SDA participants.

Secondly, we encourage developers to recognise that people who live with disabilities want to live in a house and enjoy their home, just like everybody else. So, before building the development you have in mind now, ask yourself "Would I like to live in this house?"



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