The NDIS officially launches on the 1st July (notwithstanding Barwon trial pilot site in operation since 2013), and will be rolling out across Regional Victoria and Metro Melb through the remainder of 2016 and beyond.
The change brought in with NDIS is fundamentally to provide people with a disability a choice. A voice and a choice in seeking not only services but specialist built, cost effective disability accommodation. The Government’s intent is to accelerate SDS pilot projects in the Barwon trial site that meet the needs of these participants, achieve desired outcomes and allow flexibility in both housing type and financing arrangements.
So, that all sounds good in principle, but will it work? The community housing environment has been moribund for several years but will now become rapidly more dynamic and responsive over the next 12-24 months directly due to the NDIS paradigm. The Commonwealth Government, through the council of federal relations, is exploring models of aggregated lending with government funding enhanced rates of return to bond holders. The Victorian Government Cabinet Committee on Affordable Housing is looking at options to stimulate affordable housing including exploring stock transfer models and other mechanisms.
Active Housing is of the opinion this will bring about challenges to many in the sector, but ultimately deliver improved outcomes for people with disabilities seeking suitable custom built accommodation. Active continues to be recognised for its skills and commitment in providing housing linked to support services for people with disabilities. The blending of Government resources with agency (sic) Active borrowings is a template for future developments in the NDIS space.
Active will operate in a more dynamic risk vs reward environment where capital grants will not be a feature of the landscape but Active (and the disability housing field in general) will undertake new SDA development based on borrowings financed by recurrent NDIS SDA pricing payments. Active Housing is ready for the changing landscape and welcomes the key initiative of the NDIS, which is to give users of disability services the right to choose. And with choice comes the perception that quality providers will remain and grow. As the only Victorian registered housing agency dedicated to providing housing for people with disabilities, Active is excited and looking forward to be entering this unchartered and new era.