By Darragh O’Keeffe
A new report has called for a significant increase in accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities, warning that the National Disability Insurance Scheme alone will not address the issue of young people in residential aged care.
Conducted by the Summer Foundation and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the report also calls for increased services that “create pathways back to the community” for people with severe acquired brain injury in acute hospitals, such as slow stream rehabilitation services.
The report, NDIS Launch Sites: Projection of Number of Young People in Residential Aged Care, provides a forecast of the unmet needs and resources required for housing and support in the NDIS launch sites.
It estimates that although the NDIS will have been operational in the launch sites for three years, there will be an additional 40 young people living in residential aged care in these sites by June 2016.
Report co-author, Summer Foundation CEO Dr Di Winkler, says the situation is dire. She says that while the NDIS is a crucial part of the solution to the issue of young people in residential aged care, and will provide funding for disability supports that this group needs to live in the community, “it is anticipated that very few young people will move out of nursing homes in the launch sites because there is nowhere to move to.”
There is a “desperate need” for more affordable and accessible housing options for people with a disability, she says.
Currently in Australia there are 6,192 people with a disability aged under 65 living in residential aged care, 592 of whom are under 50, according to the report.
There is a significant number of young people under 65 living in aged care in three of the five NDIS launch sites – Barwon region in Victoria, Hunter region in NSW and the ACT. The authors used demographic projections to forecast the number of young people living in residential aged care in these sites over the next four years (until the full implementation of the NDIS by 2018-19). An analysis was then undertaken to estimate the resources required to support them.
Unmet need and resources
The analysis put the estimated unmet need and resources required for housing and support in the NDIS launch sites at $15.9 million in the Hunter region, $11.2 million in the Barwon region and $8 million in the ACT.
The report concludes: “NDIS will be unable to meet these needs without a large injection of capital funding and a building plan and program. The launch sites will be unable to fully resole the issue of young people in residential aged care in the short term.”
Writing in the report’s foreword, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes says that once the NDIS is fully operational, the problem will become the dearth of accessible and affordable housing.
“The community housing sector needs to get ready to meet the needs of young people in aged care nursing homes, and the tens of thousands of other people with disability who will have funding for support, but no housing to live in.”
Download the full report NDIS Launch Sites – Projection of the number of young people in Residential Aged Care