This webpage aims to resource and support people in community housing working with people with a disability and access to housing
Helping tenants access the NDIS
To be eligible for the NDIS, potential participants must first make an access request. For many people this can be quite daunting.
It involves obtaining evidence to prove permanent disability and significant impairment. Homelessness service providers report that many people need assistance with preparing an access request and that it takes upwards of 20 hours of case management time to provide this.
People who are likely to be eligible and living in community housing are likely to have had significant contact with a range of support services in the past. For example, these might include homelessness, mental health or alcohol and other drug services.
Support for access
The role for community housing in supporting access is likely to be limited to:
- Identifying potential NDIS participants.
- Promoting the benefits of the NDIS to potential participants.
- Referring the tenant to relevant information and/or other agencies who can provide assistance (preferably one with whom they have an existing relationship).
- Assisting the individual (and/or their case manager or other support worker) with evidence they may need about their tenancy support needs.
Community housing tenancy managers should:
- understand the NDIS eligibility criteria and how this is likely to apply to their tenants
- feel comfortable discussing the NDIS and potential eligibility with tenants
- provide NDIS information to its tenants
- refer tenants to further information and assistance
- be able to prepare a letter of evidence around tenancy needs.
Planning and Review Support
Participants work with the NDIA or one of its partner agencies to develop an Individual Support Plan. Plans are organised around eight domains and 15 support categories.
Participants are encouraged be prepared and think about what support they currently receive as well as what they need to achieve their goals.
Review meetings occur once a year and usually result in a new plan.
Community housing organisations’s role in this process could include:
- Providing direct support to the participant to prepare and attend the meeting; and/or
- Linking the participant to a support or advocate (for example, a support worker, peer or family member) to assist them prepare for planning or review.
- Assisting the participant to understand and articulate their support needs.
- Providing the participant with a letter of evidence about the types of supports which are/have been useful and/or also forwarding this directly to the Local Area Coordinator (optimally with consent of the tenant).
Community housing tenancy managers should aim to:
- Have in place systems to collect relevant information (for example, if a participant, key service contacts, planning review date). This could occur at intake (new tenancy), property inspections and in response to tenancy issues (for example, neighbour complaints).
- Understand the type of supports that might be available for the tenant that relate to managing their tenancy.
- Understand roles and responsibilities regarding housing modifications.
- Be able to write a letter of evidence.
The challenge for community housing organisations is to establish new partnerships and processes and protocols that will work in the new NDIS environment. This includes knowing which tenants are receiving support, who the support providers are and who to contact in the case of a tenancy at risk.
The role for community housing organisations in service coordination and partnerships includes:
- Establishing relationships with the LAC and key NDIS providers to proactively identify issues.
- Coordinating housing and support as appropriate with agencies including the NDIA/LAC or support coordinator.
- Contacting the LAC (or NDIA) when a participant’s tenancy is at risk or in the case of impending eviction.
Community housing organisations should:
- Have systems in place to collect information from tenants.
- Develop a protocol with the LAC (or NDIA) regarding processes for tenancy at risk situations/ evictions.
- The Local Area Coordinator (LAC) – the LAC will know your tenant and support their planning and review processes. The LAC may be able to assist when there is a crisis , including organising a review or supporting flexible use of the package.
- The support coordinator – Not all participants have support coordination in their plan, although many people with a psychosocial disability or complex needs do. This role provides a central point for service coordination.
NDIS-funded housing modifications
Your rights and responsibilities
The NDIS will be responsible for home modifications in social housing that are beyond ‘reasonable’ adjustment and are specific to the impact of the NDIS participant’s impairment on their functional capacity.
Community housing organisations will need to be able to respond to funded NDIS requests for housing modifications and have a process for the work to be undertaken. This is likely to include considering the suitability of the dwelling, ongoing maintenance liabilities, and what happens if the tenant leaves.
Community housing organisations are not responsible for requesting modifications. NDIS participants should expect to have their need for housing modification in their plan.
However if tenancy workers identify a tenant requires significant property modifications, they could provide the tenant with this information to support the planning process or their review.
The tenant should be referred to the Local Area Coordinator or their support coordinator for assistance.
Note: Community housing organisations are already required to provide reasonable adjustments to its properties for people with a disability regardless of their NDIS status.
‘Reasonable’ modifications are:
- within Liveable Housing Design Guidelines that enhance accessibility for all tenants using social housing; or
- can be easily removed when the resident leaves the property or are appropriate to remain in the property for residents without a disability.