I know the NDIS hasn't been great for a lot of people but I think it's good to hear some of the positive stories as well, so I would like to share how the NDIS has meant I can live by myself in my own accessible home (that the NDIS is helping me buy). And how my experience has even led to me getting a job!
In 2017 I was living in a unit next to my dad and his wife, however I was needing to find a new place to live in the near future. I wasn't yet an NDIS participant but was looking forward to the rollout in my age group in Tassie in mid-2018. I had previously purchased a small block of land with pie-in-the-sky ideas about building my own place, as I couldn't find any mainstream housing options and was determined not to end up in a nursing home or group home. It wasn't until I found out about Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) through the NDIS that I really thought living by myself could be a reality. Especially when I learned participants could be their own provider of SDA housing (and so receive the payments directly instead of them going to a property developer).
When I transitioned to the NDIS I had my housing wish as my number one goal. I was given increased support hours so I could start living more independently and have the sort of support I would need to one day live by myself. And I arranged for an assessment for eligibility for SDA as soon as possible, and was greatly relieved when I was deemed eligible at the end of 2018.
I moved into my newly built home at the end of 2019 and as I had previously registered as an SDA provider I received my first monthly payment in January 2020, which went straight off the mortgage!
Because I live in a super accessible home I don't require overnight care and can be left by myself for hours at a time during the day, so even though the SDA funding is expensive it actually saves money in the long run for the NDIS.
SDA has been amazing for me. I now have a secure housing future and am financially a lot better off. I am super keen to spread the word about it so if you have any questions just ask. Not everyone can be a self provider unfortunately as there are numerous obstacles, but even being a tenant in an SDA rental is a massive step up from standard housing.
Last year I did a Q&A session about building my SDA home with the Summer Foundation – you can read it here. I've also created a Facebook page "NDIS self providers of SDA" which you can join if you'd like to know more.
Also, I was approached by the Summer Foundation (a not for profit that works to keep young people out of nursing homes) to apply for a job in their Housing Hub team as a Lived Experience Housing Workshop Facilitator, which I got! The Summer Foundation were a great source of SDA info when I was first learning about it, they have very helpful resources on the Housing Hub website about SDA and now they are running lots of online workshops to let people know about it. If you're interested in one of the workshops (maybe I'll see you there!) you can see the dates that they are on here.
I wish the NDIS worked for everyone, and it's definitely a long way from perfect, but it has been life changing for me!
Tom Butler is the provider of his own Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). He moved into his SDA unit in Tasmania in 2019.
Tom has recently joined the Housing Hub’s team of Lived Experience Facilitators, running workshops for people with disability, families and supporters about SDA.