The specialist disability accommodation for short initiative is a combination of the public and private sector coming together for a common cause.
To alleviate the stress on basic housing and those hospitals and rehabilitation centres who have been assisting individuals suffering from physical and mental ailments, this recent scheme is just starting to find its feet.
However, there are doubts, questions and concerns that are still being raised in 2019 as the roll-out continues across Australia.
Can recipients of SDA rely on this program moving forward?
It is time to ask the question.
Market-Based Approach Fraught With Danger and Potential
There have been two distinct schools of thought when it comes to a program like specialist disability accommodation – should it be rolled out through a grant scheme where individuals are assessed and provided that living directly, or a market-based solution where clients are subsidized as they find an environment through private living arrangements? The government has opted for the latter and this is a scenario that provides as many dangers and risks for recipients as it does opportunity. Should Australian incur another housing bubble crisis, those who rely on this framework could be threatened. Yet there are others who would criticize the inflexibility of a government grant scheme, so what is the right solution?
The Demand Factor
Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) is only considered one element of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and when we focus on that element, approximately 6% of eligible recipients opt into the initiative. Out of a potential 28,000 Australian citizens, that is a low count, although the government will point to the fact the initiative is in its infancy. However, can domestic housing raise their standards and open enough pathways to match demand? Likewise, can those recipients who move on from a specialized living environment leave a space that will be filled to close the vacancy in time?
Questions for Potential Recipients
It is one thing to examine specialist disability accommodation from a purely theoretical and policy perspective, but for those potential recipients who are having to manage their affairs with their carers, it is quite another issue altogether. Given the recent implementation from 2016 and 2017 onwards, there have been members of the disabled community who have been left to ponder new living arrangements as appropriate properties slowly engage the rest of the community. There are those who are still in the dark about their circumstances as they educate themselves about the new initiative.
With the third party consultancy firm KPMG conducting a review of the specialist disability accommodation program, there have been results that are gleaned from the challenges that have been outlined. That final report offers the public and private sectors greater insight into the roles that certain parties should have moving forward, creating a greater sense of clarity and coherency by bringing all stakeholders to the table. Now that KPMG has issued the final report to identify the internal and external factors impacting the initiative, there should be an acceptance around these difficulties whilst championing the progress and assistance that has been sourced by a community in need. We are still waiting to see how far the KPMG review will extend and be enacted by those government departments charged with rolling out the recommendations.
The reality is we are not entirely sure if the community can bank on the specialist disability accommodation program in the short to medium term future. The building blocks are being put in place and with a demographic that is increasing each year, this is a priority for a government that needs to match the requirements for the local constituents. Each member of the disabled community with their carers should investigate with the appropriate bodies to see if there is an arrangement that matches their needs.