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New report to help improve lives for people who live in group homes

Two women, one of them disabled, making rhythm exercises

The Australian Government is set to improve the lives of people with disability who live in supported accommodation also known as “group homes”. This will be done by improving regulation and monitoring and introducing new standards for supported accommodation.

Group homes have been established to provide people with a disability the opportunity to live independently in the community with support.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) has today released a report following its inaugural “Own Motion Inquiry” into Aspects of Supported Accommodation.

This Inquiry investigated around 7,000 incidents and complaints over four years from residents who live in the type of supported accommodation known as “group homes”.

As of 31 December 2022 there are 29,812 participants with Supported Independent Living (SIL) supports in their NDIS plan and 22, 069 participants with Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) supports in their NDIS plan.

The focus of this Inquiry has largely been on achieving broader systemic improvements for the benefit of people who live in supported accommodation, and their families.

Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten said the report includes several observations that will drive improvements for people living in supported accommodation and the sector as a whole.

“I believe that having safe home living arrangements are fundamental to the quality of life for every Australian,” Minister Shorten said.

“People with a disability have the right to a safe living arrangement, even when it is challenging.

“People with disability have the right to have their voice heard, particularly when it comes to the quality of their day-to-day lives.

“People living in supported accommodation often have complex support needs, including those associated with having a profound intellectual, physical and/or sensory disability.

“Some people in supported accommodation have limited or no ability to undertake tasks of daily living, including communication, without support.

“This Inquiry sought to better understand the challenges faced by people living in supported accommodation when exercising choice and control about their supports.

The key observations outlined in the Inquiry’s report include: 

  • There are issues with how people with disability in supported accommodation are able to make changes to their living arrangements.
  • People living in group homes often have less choice and control over their NDIS supports than other NDIS participants, requiring greater engagement to support their exercise of control.
  • The negative attitude and aptitude by a small number in the workforce drives a high number of the issues evident in group home settings.
  • The interface with health and the supported accommodation system is not effective for many people living in supported accommodation.
  • We need to better understand the supported accommodation market and how people interact with it including by improving the collection, monitoring and analysis of relevant data.

Key actions the NDIS Commission plans to take in response to the Inquiry’s report include: 

  • Changes to regulation and monitoring of supported accommodation, including the introduction of new standards for supported accommodation.
  • Developing a targeted program of communication, engagement and education with people with disability in supported accommodation to support them to exercise their rights.
  • Increasing oversight of unregistered Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers and ensuring they are meeting the NDIS code of conduct.

NDIS Commissioner Tracey Mackey said, “I’d like to acknowledge the supported accommodation providers for their cooperation during this Inquiry”.

“And I would especially like to thank the individual residents we spoke with, and our broader stakeholders who also inputted into this Inquiry – their input was highly useful and greatly valued.”

Further detailed consultation with people with disability is planned to inform how best to implement the changes arising from this Inquiry.

For more information, and to read a copy of the Own Motion Inquiry into Aspects of Supported Accommodation, visit www.ndiscommission.gov.au

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