One of the signs of a successful society is how well it cares for everyone, particularly people with disabilities.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been in full swing since 2020. The NDIS funds Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) payments to help with the higher cost of specialist housing for many people with disabilities.URPS has been lucky enough to be involved in a range of SDA projects recently, working with registered NDIS providers such as Lifestyle Solutions and Territory Disability Services.
These houses typically have specialised floor plans that cater to the unique needs of individuals and their families. This can include more easily accessible rooms and carers’ quarters.
Existing houses in established communities are often converted to specialised housing. These houses are usually indiscernible from other houses in the streetscape.
We have found that several Councils struggle to assess these SDA projects. They consider that they don’t satisfy the definition of a “dwelling”, believing them not to be self-contained. The provision of on-site parking and private open space can also be challenged.
While the Planning & Design Code can be praised for its recognition of Supported Accommodation as a desired land use, this definition is not always applicable to the nuanced design of SDA housing.
We think most SDA housing is simply a “dwelling” and there is no need for complex assessment. Sure, they have some unique design elements but, in the end, a house is a house.