Individual Living Options (ILOs)
Hello, my name is Alecia and I'm from the Housing Hub team here at the Summer Foundation. Many people with disability need a lot of support to live independently in the community, but don't want to live in a group home with others. Individual living options, or ILO, are different ways people can do this. ILOs are not a one-size-fits-all. They are tailored to each person.
It's easiest to understand ILO when they are described with examples. Firstly, there is a host arrangement. Another person, a couple or family, welcomes a person with disability into their home and provide some support. The host receives funding from the person's NDIS plan to do that. Secondly, it's possible for a person with a disability to share their home with a supportive housemate. The housemate provides some support at agreed times and pays less rent. In both of these examples, people may also have daily help from support workers or family members, a friendly neighbour, or other supports that help them live their life. This is all organised as part of an ILO arrangement.
A good way to understand an ILO is to think about other systems. For example, foster carers are given financial help in exchange for the home, care, support, and stability they provide a child. In aged care, an older person might share their home with a student who provides them with support in exchange for a reduced rent. ILOs can be similar to these examples.
What other types of arrangements are there? Living together. This is about an NDIS participant living with someone. They already know the person, or they choose the person through the typical ways that housemates find each other. Participants may have a mix of these kinds of arrangements that help make things work for a long time. For example, two NDIS participants may live together with a co-resident, or a living arrangement may also be supported through a friendly neighbour. You may also continue living with your family and this is supported by co-residency or a part-time host family.
How do you work out what you want? How do you find people, and how does it get funded? There's a lot to think about and organise with any ILO. The NDIS can fund what is needed in two parts. The first step is where the NDIS pays to plan what an ILO might look like for you. This is called Individualised Living Options, Exploration and Design. This information is then used to prepare something called an ILO Service Proposal for the NDIS. This is where your living arrangement is described and a quote is prepared. The NDIS makes a decision based on the reasonable and necessary criteria it uses for all decisions. It is important to think about the reasonable and necessary criteria backing the exploration stage. You can ask the ILO team for the service proposal. Email this team at email@example.com.
The final step is to have the funding to make your plan happen. These could be things like helping you find the support people, like housemates, work out the financial arrangements needed, plan for your safety and for emergencies, monitor the arrangements, and help search for the home. The funding in your plan for this is called Individualised Living Options, Support Model. You can use an ILO provider to do these things. You could also search for a support coordinator to help with exploration and design.
ILOs are still very new. There may be providers who are using different words to describe their experience, like individual living arrangements, host family or host care, home share, alternate family living arrangements, and shared living. These words could also help you find providers. The two main things that can't be paid for from this funding are the cost of a property, such as rent, and an hourly wage to co-residents, hosts, or neighbours.
What's the difference between an ILO, SIL, and SDA? Specialist Disability Accommodation, or SDA, is about housing. If a person is eligible for SDA, the cost of this housing is paid by the NDIS plan. SDA doesn't include the services or support you need to live in that home. That is where ILO and SIL come in. SIL stands for Supported Independent Living. This is about round-the-clock paid support provided to a person while living in their home. While SIL is most often provided to people who live in shared accommodation or group homes, it can also be to one person receiving support in their own home. ILO arrangements use different kinds of support than paid support workers in a roster of care. You can be eligible for SDA and create an ILO arrangement for your support. Other chapters go into much more detail about SDA and SIL.
What can you do next? Make sure you have a goal in your NDIS plan. You can do this in the next video called NDIS Housing Goal Writing. Include written and verbal information about exploring individual living options at your NDIS planning meeting. You, your planner, or local area coordinator can contact the ILO team at email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask questions. They are a very responsive team.
If you are interested in ILO, go to your notes section at the end of your workbook. Write your thoughts here. An organisation in Western Australia called WA Individualised Services has a great planning booklet called My Life, Your Life, Our Life. We have provided a link to this. Join us in the next chapter where we will talk about NDIS housing goal writing.