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Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) can be provided to people who are or are likely to be NDIS participants and have an extreme functional impairment or very high support needs (SDA).

The term ‘SDA’ is used in two ways; SDA apartment or house and means the actual property; or SDA payment, which is the funding allocated to a person in their NDIS Plan. SDA funding and SDA housing are for people who require specialist housing solutions, including assistance with the delivery of supports that cater for their extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. From 1 July 2016, eligible participants have SDA funding included in their plan enabling them to source the SDA they require and choose from the market.

SDA funding is for the dwelling itself, and is not intended to cover support costs (such as Supported Independent Living), which are assessed and funded separately by the NDIS.

On this website, we refer to SDA housing properties in two ways and they are about whether the property is old or new.

New Build SDA

Is a housing development currently being built that will be available for people with the SDA funding payment.

Existing Build SDA

Refers to existing properties suitable for people with SDA funding in their NDIS plan. In Victoria, properties managed through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in NDIS areas are now referred to as SDA properties, where previously they may have been referred to as Shared Supported Accommodation (SSA) or group homes.

More information is available on SDA Design Categories and SDA Building Types.

The NDIS website has additional information about Specialist Disability Accommodation.

Shared Supported Accommodation (SSA)

Shared Supported Accommodation (SSA) provides both housing and support services for people with a disability.

This may be in a group home or other living arrangement where staff are available to support the needs of the people living there. Supported accommodation is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and by community service organisations.

The supported accommodation service helps you learn new things, make choices about your life and get active in the community. It will help you:

  • Look after the house, like cleaning and shopping
  • Care for yourself, like eating, getting dressed and preparing food
  • With personal hygiene, like bathing and going to the toilet
  • Be part of the local community.

Staff can also help with other things, like going to the doctor or to social activities.

Please note, under the NDIS in Victoria, SSA properties managed by DHHS are now referred to as Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

Supported Residential Services (SRS)

Supported Residential Services (SRS) provide accommodation and support for people who need help in everyday life, like people who are frail or have a disability.

Supported Residential Services are operated privately and do not receive government funding. SRS providers must be registered with the state government and are monitored to ensure they provide certain standards of personal support and accommodation.

The services provided, the types of people able to be accommodated, and fees charged vary based on the SRS provider.

Social Housing (public, community, transitional)

Social housing is made up of two types of housing, public housing and community housing.

It is for people on low income who need housing, especially those who have recently experienced homelessness, family violence or have other special needs. You can apply for social housing through the Victorian Housing Register.

Public housing

Public housing is a form of long-term rental social housing managed by the state government.

Community housing

Community housing is secure, affordable, long-term rental housing managed by not-for-profit organisations for people on low income or with special needs. Community housing providers offer different types of housing depending on the needs and preferences of the family or individual.

These organisations are registered and regulated by the state government. Some specialise in helping specific groups, like people with a disability, women, singles and older people.

Community Housing Federation of Victoria’s website has a full list of providers of different types of community housing.

Transitional housing

Transitional Housing is a supported short-term accommodation with access to support services. It acts as a stepping-stone to more permanent housing in public, community or the private market. Transitional Housing may be managed by the government or a community housing organisation.

People moving into transitional housing have often been victims of a change in circumstance. For example, a lost job has meant the rent can’t be paid, a marriage break-up leaves one partner with no money or support, or a person may lose the support of – or can no longer live with – other family members.

Individuals are provided with a housing support program that offers advice and planning in the areas where assistance is needed. A key element of transitional housing is that it’s a temporary option, and tenants must be actively working with their support provider to apply for long-term housing (e.g. public housing or private rental).

Housing Associations

Housing Associations manage a combination of DHHS properties and/or own other properties. Housing Associations range in size depending on the range of properties in their portfolio. Portfolios can range from 400 t0 2000+ dwellings.

Housing Associations operate using a similar model as the common rental arrangement, but the Housing Associations manage and maintain the property using their own staff. Housing Associations are eligible to receive Government funding to build or acquire new properties. In the past the state government has transferred a small number of properties to Housing Associations.

Housing Cooperatives

Rental housing cooperatives are governed by voluntary tenant members with support from professional staff.

The key principles of living in a cooperative include:

  • The tenant must be willing and able to participate in the running of the cooperative, and is focused on fair and equal access to those who wish to participate which includes encouraging the occupancy, participation, and full social integration of people with special needs
  • Cooperative housing is run democratically where all members have equal voting rights, and membership is distributed in a manner that encourages equal participation
  • Members contribute fairly to the running of the housing
  • Housing cooperatives are independent entities controlled by their members
  • Housing cooperatives should support the further education of its members to help meet their responsibilities and deepen their commitment to the performance of the cooperative

Transitional Housing

Transitional Housing is a supported short-term accommodation with access to support services. It acts as a stepping-stone to more permanent housing in public, community or the private market.

People moving into transitional housing have often been victims of a change in circumstance. For example, a lost job has meant the rent can’t be paid, a marriage break-up leaves one partner with no money or support, or a person may lose the support of – or can no longer live with – other family members.

Individuals are provided with a housing support program that offers advice and planning in the areas where assistance is needed. A key element of transitional housing is that it’s a temporary option, and tenants must be actively working with their support provider to apply for long-term housing (e.g. public housing or private rental).

Specialist Providers

Specialist community housing organisations focus on housing particular tenant groups, such as the aged, homeless youth, people living with disabilities, and others.

There are also some organisations that are run by faith-based providers. Specialist providers service tenants through particular programs, and in some cases specific equipment.

Prospective tenants in Victoria with a specialist housing need can access a list of Specialist Providers through the community housing peak body (Community Housing Federation Victoria) website.

Other Options

Home renovation loans for people with disability and older Victorians

Information on home renovation loans help eligible people pay for work done to their home for health and safety reasons.

Find out more about home renovation loans.