Inclusive housing

The Disability Royal Commission made a number of findings and recommendations on inclusive housing.  

While the Final Report does not include any autism specific recommendations on housing, it does include findings and recommendations with particular relevance to people with cognitive and intellectual disability. These may be of particular interest and relevance to some members of the autism community. These findings were informed by evidence from Autistic people and their families and supporters. 

For an Easy Read version of the Commission’s report on ‘Inclusive housing’, visit here  

What the Commission found

  • Autistic people (identifying autism as their primary disability) comprise only 10% of NDIS participants with Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding in their plans, compared to 11% that identify cerebral palsy as their primary disability, and 42% as intellectual disability. 
  • People with disability, particularly those with cognitive impairment or intellectual disability, are at a disproportionate risk of housing insecurity and homelessness.  
  • A high proportion of people living in supported accommodation are people with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment. They do not necessarily have adequate support to understand and enforce their rights and they are particularly vulnerable to homelessness due to insecure tenure. 
  • A lack of service collaboration increases the risk of homelessness for people with cognitive impairment and intellectual disability transitioning from criminal justice and healthcare settings. 

What the Commission recommended

  1. Recommendations 7.34, 7.37, 7.39, 7.40, 7.42 and pages 717 – 718 of Part C, Volume 7: Prevent homelessness, particularly among people with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment by: 

(a) including homelessness as a priority in Australia’s Disability Strategy and recognising that people with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment are cohorts in particular need of intensive homelessness programs and support. 

(b) promoting the rights of people with cognitive impairment and intellectual disability in private accommodation and by providing greater security of tenure (particularly in supported accommodation). 

(c) increasing tenancy and occupancy protections and providing access to a range of inclusive housing options.   

(d) improving service integration for people with intellectual disability and cognitive disability transitioning from criminal justice or hospital settings, including by adopting an all of government ‘no leaving into homelessness’ policy. 

(e) expanding pathways and support for people with disability out of homelessness, including through Housing First programs.  

2.   Provide people with cognitive and intellectual disability with access to appropriate and safe housing by increasing access to different types of accommodation, supporting decision making and choice and control, and improving oversight and regulation. Pages 784 – 785 of Part C, Volume 7. 

To read the Commission’s final report in full on ‘Inclusive housing’, visit here.   

Some of the lived experience stories shared by the autism community

  • Maree spoke about her Autistic daughter Jane’s experience of sexual abuse in a group home, the challenges in trying to seek justice for Jane and the impacts the abuse has had on every aspect of her daughter’s life. 
  • Will and Jenny gave evidence about the experiences of their Autistic son Ben and other residents in a group home, including two female residents who were assaulted, bullied and harassed. They attributed the increased risk of violence and abuse in the home to poor management and supervision by the Supported Independent Living (SIL) provider, and poor selection of residents. They also shared their ideas on how service delivery could be improved, including by the NDIS clearly defining the services and role of SILs and providers being required to involve residents or their guardians in the selection process for new residents.  
  • An unnamed mother spoke about the experiences of her Autistic daughter in a group home, the problems with staff casualisation and the difficulties her daughter faced due to “a succession of casual staff” who did not know her. 

Do you need more information or support?

If you would like more information about these findings or recommendations or have any questions about the Commission or its report, we encourage you to contact Your Story Disability Legal Support on 1800 77 1800, online here or by email here.   We appreciate that reading this page and hearing the lived experience stories shared may raise mixed emotions and cause anxiety or distress for many people. If you, or someone you know, needs support, the following services are available.

  • National Counselling and Referral Service at Blue Knot – 1800 421 468 or visit the website.
  • Beyond Blue 24/7 Support – 1300 224 636 or visit the website.
  • Lifeline 24/7 Crisis Support – 13 11 14 or visit the website.
  • 1800 Respect – 1800 737 722 or visit the website.
  • Disability Gateway – 1800 643 787 or visit the website.
  • 13 YARN – 13 92 76 or visit the website.
  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, contact triple zero (000).
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