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April 26, 2023

Investing in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and Supported Independent Living (SIL) Accommodation.

What is the NDIS?

According to the NDIS website, it is a federal government-funded scheme which provides support to people with an intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive (such as defective short-term memory) or psychosocial (arising as a result of a mental health condition) disability, as well as early intervention supports for children with developmental delay.

For Australians who live with a disability, NDIS funding is a game-changer that allows access to services to develop skills and live a more enriched, independent lifestyle. One in six Australians live with a disability. Along with the daily challenges that a disability can bring, living with a disability can also be expensive.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding directly to individuals living with a disability. It is designed to help people with a disability get the support they need to build their skills and improve their independence over time.

Following trials for the NDIS that first began in 2013, the Scheme is now available across Australia. Over 518,000 Australians who have a disability are currently accessing the NDIS. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which runs the NDIS decides if a person is eligible to be an NDIS participant and how much funding they will receive. Local Area Coordinators (LACs) or early childhood partners help participants access, understand and navigate the NDIS system and create, implement and review their NDIS plan.

What do you need to know about investing in SDA and SIL properties?

There is a huge undersupply throughout Australia of housing for people living with disability or who have special needs. By investing in SDA and SIL housing you will improve the lives of people living with disabilities or who have special needs and will get an excellent return on your NDIS housing investment. As is always the case with any good investment opportunity there is a lot to it all.

What exactly is SDA?

SDA housing is housing that is specially designed to accommodate SDA funded participants under the NDIS.SDA housing is designed for people with severe functional impairment and/or very high support needs who are NDIS participants funded by the NDIS administered by the National Disability Insurance agency (NDIA).

SDA properties offer improved livability features, such as easier access, wheelchair accessibility, smart technology automation and other items specifically designed to care for the needs of individuals with disability. Accessible disability housing is a crucial aspect of promoting independence and dignity for people with disabilities. While traditional housing designs may present challenges for those with disabilities, accessible housing is designed to remove barriers and accommodate the unique needs of individuals.

Accessibility Features

One of the most important considerations when designing disability housing is the incorporation of accessibility features. Some of the most common features include:
  1. Wide doorways and hallways: Wide doorways and hallways provide ample space for wheelchairs and other mobility devices, allowing for easy navigation throughout the home.
  2. Accessible bathrooms: Accessible bathrooms are designed with safety and accessibility in mind. Features such as grab bars, roll-in showers, and low-mounted toilets make it easier for individuals with disabilities to use the bathroom.
  3. Ramps or level (step free) access: Ramps or step free level access provide a smooth and safe transition from the exterior of the home to the interior, allowing for easy access for those using wheelchairs or other mobility devices. This includes level access through sliding doors to outside balconies and deck/garden areas.
  4. Lever handles: Lever handles on doors and cabinets are easier to use than traditional knobs, making it easier for individuals with disabilities to access different areas of the home.
  5. Lower light switches and outlets: Lower light switches and outlets make it easier for individuals in wheelchairs or with mobility limitations to access these essential features.

Universal Design

In addition to incorporating accessibility features, accessible disability housing should also incorporate principles of universal design. Universal design is an approach to design that takes into account the needs of individuals with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The goal of universal design is to create spaces that are usable by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or disability.

Some of the key principles of universal design include:
    1. Flexibility: Universal design incorporates features that can be adapted to accommodate a wide range of needs and abilities.
    2. Simplicity: Universal design focuses on creating spaces that are simple and intuitive to use, making them accessible to individuals with disabilities and those without.
    3. Equitable use: Universal design takes into account the needs of individuals with disabilities and ensures that they have equal access to the space.
    4. Perception: Universal design considers how spaces are perceived by individuals with disabilities, taking into account factors such as lighting, colour, and texture.
Designing accessible disability housing is a critical aspect of promoting independence and dignity for individuals with disabilities. Incorporating accessibility features, utilizing principles of universal design, and considering the unique needs and preferences of the individual are key to creating functional and accessible housing that meets the needs of those with disabilities. By considering these factors and following best practices, designers can create homes that are safe, accessible, and comfortable for individuals with disabilities to live in.

What exactly is SIL?

Supported Independent Living (SIL) provides people with special needs various personal care activities like showering and dressing, cooking meals, shopping for groceries, medication management and administration, keeping the home safe and tidy or help in getting to and from appointments so that they can live their best lives.

How does one invest in an SDA or SIL property (NDIS housing investment)?

You can buy an existing property and change it to meet the strict SDA and SIL housing requirements. This is not straightforward and can be expensive .You need to strictly follow the NDIA rules for converting existing dwellings to SDA and SIL housing. Or you could build your own SDA or SIL property from scratch. The property could be in the form of either an apartment, townhouse, villa or a full house.

To qualify for SDA or SIL funding the property must meet the strict design requirements laid down by the NDIA. These cover things like the size of bedrooms and bathrooms, doorways and hallways to accommodate wheelchairs.

The property must also have various features which make it easier for people with disabilities or special needs to live there. For example, this might include grab rails in bathrooms, level entryways and automatic doors.

Finding a tenant (a participant)

The NDIS operates on essentially the same market principles that all property markets operate under. Participants must find and apply for SDA and SIL accommodation themselves. Generally this is done by contacting registered SDA and SIL providers directly or through online searches.

A good SDA or SIL provider will have the participants requiring housing who have either already been approved for SDA or SIL funding or who are currently going through the funding application process.

Who pays the rent?

The NDIS makes the SDA and SIL payments which are paid to the SDA/SIL provider once an SDA/SIL funded NDIS participant is resident in the property. The participant also pays a “reasonable rent contribution” of 25 percent of their base disability support pension. In essence this means that your NDIS housing investment is entirely funded by the government, one way or the other.

SDA rental properties are not subject to quite the same market forces as ordinary residential rental properties. Both SDA and SIL funded NDIS participants are not going to easily move out if the property meets their requirements and suits their needs. This means that there is very little tenant (participant) turnover which makes SDA and SIL properties a very dependable investment proposition.

The current and expected future demand for SDA and SIL homes are significant. There are currently in excess of 500,000 NDIS Participants. The forecast for the end of 2030 is that there will be in excess of 800,000 participants. Many of these participants will need SDA or SIL accommodation.

There is an undersupply of homes for current and future participants of the NDIS; who will be funded for SDA and SIL, this means that there will be strong demand for these housing and in turn an increase upward trend for investors in NDIS housing investment space.

Not only do they offer great returns on investment with returns anywhere from 6% to around 15% per annum depending, they also provide much-needed housing for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Contact us today if you’d like to find out further on how SDA property investments work.

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