A new approach to SDA is combatting Newcastle’s social housing crisis for people with disability

Aruma has been working with iNSiTU, and Third.i, to create more specialist homes.

July 31, 2023

Aruma, has partnered with SDA provider, iNSiTU, and property developer, Third.i, to create more specialist homes for people with a disability in Newcastle, NSW.

With estimates that around 18% of people living in Newcastle have a disability and Australia expected to experience a shortage of over 100,000 homes by 2027, the need for specialist homes has never been more important.

“In Newcastle and its surrounds, we have seen a growing need for specialised housing and by partnering with others, Aruma can be part of the solution. We are thrilled to provide NDIS participants with even more choice and control in their supports so they can thrive in the community,” said Dr Martin Laverty, Aruma CEO and former NDIS Board Member.

iNSiTU recognised the demand in 2019 and since then has delivered 24 fit-for-purpose one- and two-bedroom SDA apartments in developer Third.i’s Eaton and Stella homes, located in Wickham.

In total, there are 261 residential apartments across the two buildings. The iNSiTU apartments offer features such as wide door frames, motorised height adjustable benches, provisions for ceilings hosts and grab rails, and are assistive technology ready. Residents have access to multiple common spaces, including rooftop gardens with enviable harbour views.

“At iNSiTU Housing we are working towards changing the future of disability housing, by providing people with disabilities the right to equality within our communities, in particular through access to suitable accommodation in desirable and well-connected locations,” said Rosie Trantham, Chief Housing Officer at iNSiTU Housing.

“We’re incredibly proud to have recently announced that Stella and Eaton are now at a 100% occupancy rate. With more in the pipeline in Newcastle at Dairy Farmers Towers and other cities along the NSW East Coast we look forward to bringing more apartments to life, and communities that are structured to support residents in developing their capability to live as independently as possible,” concluded Rosie.

The apartments available via iNSiTU feature Aruma’s new Co-Living Shared Support model which breaks the mould of a typical SDA home. This model offers greater flexibility for Aruma customers to live independently in apartments and have access to on-call support from Aruma staff if they need it.

“As the on-call support provider, Aruma offers what’s known as ‘unscheduled support’ as part of the Co-Living Shared Support Model. This gives our customers the freedom to choose when they require a little extra support, rather than relying on set times when their one-on-one supports would be scheduled, which is typical of other support models,” said Karen Burke, Aruma’s National Business Development Manager.

“For example, one of our customers living at Wickham is supported by another provider until 8pm every day, so they have chosen for Aruma to support them if they need it from 8pm to 10pm when they are ready to go to bed. Other customers might use it more regularly or just in emergencies.”

According to the NDIS’ SDA 2021/22 quarter 4 report, there are currently more than 19,000 NDIS participants with SDA supports, however there are only 7,000 SDA homes. While the number of homes continues to rise each quarter, so does the expected number of NDIS participants.

Newcastle has been earmarked as a location for more accessible housing, after the NDIS released a new pricing guide expected to encourage greater investment in SDA in key regional areas. Read more on the Newcastle Weekly.

To meet those needs and after the success of Newcastle, Aruma, iNSiTU, and Thirdi plan to roll out this model in other areas including North Gosford and Taree in 2023.

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