Accessible Homes Australia (AHA) founder and CEO Perry Cross has been appointed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Reference Group.
As one of 17 people on the committee, Perry will provide insight and advice to the Australian Government on how it rolls out the SDA scheme nationally, a conversation close to his heart as an independent living SDA participant and provider.
Perry says AHA’s voice in the rollout is important because the current NDIS scheme is not perfect.
“AHA brings a unique perspective to the group because we can analyse issues and advise solutions across the board, with myself as a participant and our directors who have a vast background in building, real estate and development,” he says.
The SDA reference group was created to provide feedback to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on the development and implementation of Specialist Disability Accommodation under the NDIS.
Perry says one topic the group desires to focus on is the participant experience of the SDA processes, market and housing outcomes.
“Whilst scouring the open rental market for suitable disability accommodation, there was an array of difficulties and challenges before I found a great SDA apartment,” he says.
“SDA housing has given me independence as well as a more inclusive, accessible and safer life – it has changed my life. I am looking forward to sharing my journey and advice with the team.”
Perry says there are several issues he would like to address with the reference group; however, his focus, right now, is aligned with AHA’s policy of one participant per two-bedroom apartments.
“The SDA scheme was designed to give Participants choice, control and the right to live independently, if they desire,” he says.
“Unfortunately, currently there are a lot of SDA participants who, despite their choice and capability, are being granted shared living outcomes.
“This is not fair and not what SDA was intended limit people to. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you should have to live with someone else with a disability. It’s a step back towards the group home model, which doesn’t suit anyone.
“With the help of the NDIA, we are trying to gather a proper view of the market and identify who the participants are, where they live and what they want.
“There is plenty going on; however, we have the right people around the table to help us move in the right direction. I’m optimistic that we will get to a point where the NDIA and providers will produce great living outcomes for everyone.”
Learn more about the NDIS SDA Reference Group at https://bit.ly/3au71nN
If you, a friend or loved-one who could benefit from moving into a more suitable, accessible and supported-living home with AHA, contact us now.