Strong partnerships pay off for people with disabilities

CBB Report

​A review has found that an initiative to transition people with high support needs from unsuitable care settings to long term rentals is attracting positive comments from tenants and exceeding targets set for the Department of Housing by government.
“I’m very happy to get the opportunity to set up house. There’s room for the kids and there are parks nearby and having kids come to stay on weekends is a big change in my life,” said a Mental Health Commission (MHC) interviewee.
People who have transitioned to these properties told the review that they were pleased with their homes and reported increased independence and freedom, improved relationships with their families and new social networks.
They were also very pleased with the process of matching housing to individuals’ needs and their level of involvement in decision making.
A family member of a Disability Services Commission (DSC) client who is now housed more independently said:
“I think for us it’s a sense of relief. We know she has a home that feels secure, that meets all her needs; that she’s happy and content there is very satisfying.”
The 2011/12 State Budget allocated $150.7m to the Department to deliver 284 dwellings that would house long stay residents in psychiatric institutional care, adults with intellectual disability in the care of elderly or frail parents and people with head injuries and other disabilities.
The budget allocation resulted from a multi-agency submission to government known as the Combined Capital Bid (CCB), involving the Department, DSC, MHC and the Drug and Alcohol Office (DAO).
“The new housing funded by the CCB is delivered through the Community Disability Housing Program, with the properties managed by community housing organisations and support services provided by non-government agencies contracted by DSC, MHC and DAO” Peter Lonsdale, Director Housing Programs, said.
“The housing also includes 15 transitional properties for people leaving alcohol and other drug treatment services to live in the community.”
A recent review of CCB overseen by a working group with representatives from the Department, DSC, MHC, DAO, WA Association for Mental Health and Southern Cross Housing Ltd revealed the rollout was proceeding well and actually exceeding its original targets.
“Not only is the Department on track to complete the required 284 dwellings on time by 30 June 2015, up to 25 additional dwellings—funded by savings during implementation—will be delivered for DSC, taking the total CCB dwellings to 309,” Mr Lonsdale said.
The CCB is an excellent example of the Department successfully partnering with other organisations to deliver great outcomes.
“Good working relationships between the Department, DSC, MHC and DAO were essential to the success of this program,” he said.
Genevieve Errey, Director Social and Affordable Housing System, is currently finalising a response to the review that will include partnering with CHOs, DSC, MHC and DAO to develop supported housing models that suit new ways of providing support to people with disabilities.
“The strength of this approach is that is delivers an individualised response based on partnerships between government agencies, not for profit support providers and community housing organisations.”
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme commences in WA from July 2014, and these actions will complement work underway in Strategy and Policy to increase the range of housing options for people with disabilities.” Ms Errey said.

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