Symposium calls for improved housing for people with disabilities

Dr Marg Ward

The housing sector will be called on toimprove housing options for people with disabilities at the eighth National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Symposium this month.

The Griffith University-led Symposium, to be held this Monday 8 August at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, has the theme ‘Housing for People with Disability: Let’s take action’ and will seek the ideas of people with disability, their families and allies in a bid for a truly inclusive housing system.

The event is a joint effort between the university, Queenslanders with DisabilityNetwork (QDN) and National Shelter to provide avoice for people with disability on thehousing issues experiencedin Queensland.

“People with disability want the government, housing providers and the NDIS to hear them loud and clear,” says Dr Marg Ward from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

“People with disability want choice and control over where and with whom they live, like everyone else.The battle for reasonable and necessary support has been won. The NDIS will be implemented in Queensland over the next three years, but people cannot live good lives without secure, affordable and appropriate housing.

“It is now up to the housing sector to respond to the NDIS implementation.”

A place to call home: A housing issues paper for people with disabilityis also set to be launched at the symposium and its authors want action now, says Dr Ward.

Challenging society’s assumptions

Chairperson of Queenslanders with Disability Network,Nigel Webbis challenging society’s assumptions that having a home of his own is not possible.

“I was born with cerebral palsy and from the age of four until I was 20 I was placed in various institutions, a nursing home and then into a group home. In August 1992, aged 21, the Queensland Department of Housing offered me a tenancy in social housing through spot purchasing a house and retrofitting it to suit my accessibility requirements. However, this is a tenancy and I have a housing placement, not ownership of a home, which is my key life goal,” he says.
“Housing is a fundamental need for everyone. People are able to be well supported, receive better healthcare, achieve employment goals and contribute to their community as a result of having good housing and security of tenure. Having security of tenure has givenme the stability to create and raise a family.”

Mr Webb is married with two children, working and has been in various leadership roles in the disability sector for more than20 years.

His story illustrates the importance of secure affordable and appropriate housing as essential to building a good life and participating socially and economically in society.

Like other Australian families, the Webbs aspire to owning their own home and Nigel strongly believes, he and others living with disability, can overcome the barriers with the right support from government, the private sector, financiers, designers and the wider community.

“I would like to one dayown my own home. This is a goal I’ve been working on for over 20 years. In my case, the big issue of housing affordability could be addressed by looking at innovative finance options, and the cost of home modifications could be minimised with universal design, just some of the topics covered in the issues paper.

“I invite people to join the discussion, respond to the issues paper, and be part of the next stage of consultation at the symposium on Monday,” says Mr Webb.

Following the symposium, QDN will release an official plan of action.


*Media are invited to attend*

Housing for people with disability: Let’s take action
Date:Monday, 8 August 2016, 8.30am – 4.30pm
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane
Rooms: P7-P11, Plaza Level, Grey Street Entrance
Cost: $185 Full Registration / $50 Concession

Website to register:

Email:[email protected]

Phone:07 3382 1458