Ensuring people have the right level of support for their needs is not just essential for their day-to-day needs, but for the emotional health and well-being of any individual. With so many different types of support, one of the most pivotal components that can help address the unique needs of individuals with significant and or permanent disabilities is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). But what is SDA housing, how does it work, and what are the benefits it offers?
What is SDA Housing?
Specialist Disability Accommodation is purpose-built housing designed specifically to the needs of individuals with high levels of support. Unlike standard accessible housing, SDA housing is equipped with features that go beyond the basics, aiming to facilitate greater independence among the residents, therefore improving the quality of life.
To qualify for SDA housing, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- Having very high support needs and an extreme functional impairment.
- Being able to show that SDA will help the individual pursue their NDIS goals, providing opportunities to develop their skills and deliver long-term benefits.
Types of SDA Categories
The SDA is split into four types of design categories that cater to NDIS participants which are:
Dwellings that are built for people who have intellectual, cognitive, and sensory impairments.
This assimilates a high level of physical support for individuals with significant functional impairments, for example, wheelchair passages throughout the entire property.
Resilient housing that is designed to keep people safe if they display behaviours that could place them in harmful situations, for example, secure windows, doors, and external areas, fixtures, and fittings like blinds, soundproofing, and laminated glass.
High Physical Support
This includes the same requirements as the Fully Accessible category, but with a few extra additions such as structural provisions like ceiling hoists, openings to all rooms, or assistive technology that can use voice control to assist with emergency power, door activation, room temperature, etc.
How Does SDA Housing Work?
Typically, the journey into SDA housing starts with the inclusion of SDA in an individual’s NDIS plan. The NDIS will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the level of support needed. If the criteria for SDA eligibility are met, funding can be included in the participant’s plan.
Once SDA is in the NDIS plan, funding is allocated specifically for the housing. The funding is separate from other support services intended to cover the additional costs provided with the features or design of the properties.
The next step is to find an SDA provider. There are a number of essential factors to consider here, such as:
- The reputation of the SDA housing provider.
- The accommodation suitability.
The range of support services.
- The provider’s commitment to the individual.
Once this is done, finding the right accommodation that meets an individual’s needs is the next step, and then the NDIS will maintain an ongoing role in ensuring the funding is appropriate and the individual is receiving the level of support they need. This can include regular reviews of individual plans to assess if the current level of SDA funding meets the requirements of the participant.
What Are the Benefits of SDA Housing?
Tailored for Independence
SDA housing is purpose-built with features to enhance one’s independence. Depending on the SDA category the participant falls under, that could be widened doorways, smart home technology, and other specialised facilities. The purpose is to minimise barriers and empower residents to live independently.
A trained core group of staff and caregivers should always prioritise the needs of an individual based on their daily activities, medical needs, emotional well-being, and other relevant support requirements. A caregiver should have the right combination of skills to perform the role according to the person’s needs, but also display compassion, sensitivity, and empathy to facilitate a great relationship with the individual and to their job more effectively.
Integration into the Community
To promote independence among SDA housing residents and to improve well-being and sense of self, community integration and socialising become vital components. Many SDA developments are placed within strategic locations that encourage community integration. Becoming an active participant in a community and contributing to a specific location is something that improves well-being.
SDA housing should meet the evolving needs of the residents. As the level of support will change over time, the accommodation should be modified to ensure adequate levels of suitability and support.
A Better Quality of Life
SDA housing serves the purpose of contributing to the improvements in the quality of life of someone with a disability. Access to the appropriate accommodation and support services should enrich a resident’s life.
How to Improve the Living Experience Within SDA Housing
- Have a clear understanding of the specific needs and preferences of the individual. This doesn’t just include the current requirements, but should take into account the potential future changes in a participant’s support needs.
- Explore the range of accommodation options thoroughly, taking into account factors like proximity to amenities, design features, and location. This will ensure that the residency aligns with the preferences of the person in question.
- Engage with the NDIS and provide updates on the living situation, while also noting any changes in support needs or expressing any concerns or challenges within SDA housing.
- Advocate for individual rights as participants always have the right to voice any preferences or concerns. If there are issues with the current SDA arrangement or if any adjustments are necessary, a resident always has the right to assert their needs and advocate for their well-being.
SDA housing is a significant component of creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for anyone experiencing disabilities. SDA housing ensures that somebody who needs extra support can live an independent, fulfilling life, while also ensuring their well-being needs are met. SDA housing is not just a place to live, but is about creating a home where someone with a disability can thrive within a community, where they feel they can participate, contribute, and, most importantly, belong.