Disability housing design with the tenant in mind.

We go beyond the SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation) standard to deliver people-centred disability housing design that meets the specific needs of individuals. Every person has their own unique life experience. It's essential to centre the voices of people with disabilities, to ensure their unique needs are met.

We asked tenants what they really want from their SDA housing. Outside of the standard SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation) provisions, the overwhelming response was "reduced living costs", followed by "more opportunities for connection". In response, we're building more houses to meet these needs.

To reduce cost of living for tenants, selected SDA Smart Homes include:

  • Solar power
  • Free internet
  • Reduced RRC

In addition to reduced living costs, participants value connection with family, community, and services. We're now building more SDA in established and well serviced areas.

To increase independence and social connection, select SDA Smart Homes include:

  • Access to a private patio from each bedroom. Natasha tells us her private patio is a lovely place to sit and chat when family and friends visit. It also serves as a quiet place to enjoy her own company in the fresh air.
  • Close proximity to public transport. Jake was excited to move into an SDA house, only a short distance from the train station. This means he can enjoy a more active social life with with regular train trips to his favourite theme park.
  • Central location close to services and community activities. Mary chose an SDA Smart Home close to the local retail / business district. She now enjoys significant savings on taxi fares for her weekly bingo session and shopping trips.
  • Tenancies open to participants with Appendix H applied to their SDA funding. An Appendix H tenancy with SDA Smart Homes has made a significant impact on the lives of the Crane family. David, an SDA funded tenant, is now able to live in an SDA house with his wife and daughter. Previously, his only option was sharing with housemates.

*Names are changed to protect tenants privacy.

If you are looking for people-centred disability housing design that delivers lower living costs and increased independence and community participation, check out our disability housing vacancies or contact us:

SDA Robust Homes

The Disability Housing Centre now has SDA Robust homes available for immediate tenancies. If you, or someone you know, has Robust SDA funding in your NDIS plan, contact Ashleigh to discuss your housing needs.
Ashleigh Smith - NDIS Accommodation Manager - M: 0409 528 739

You can search for SDA availability in our Accommodation Listings.

What is a Robust Home?

NDIS SDA Robust homes are custom-designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals with unique behavioural needs. Robust homes are constructed with a focus on resilience and accessibility, using materials and features that prioritize the well-being of both residents and the community. The goal is to create spaces that minimize risk and reduce the need for frequent maintenance. This is achieved through the thoughtful selection of materials that are both durable and discreet, capable of withstanding regular use without compromising safety. Additionally, the design of SDA Robust Homes prioritizes a sense of security for both the resident and their caregiver, with measures in place to prevent damage. The intention behind robust housing is to empower individuals with behaviours of concern to thrive in a space that respects their dignity and supports their well-being.

Appendix H Funding – Keeping Families Together

The introduction of Appendix H funding is wonderful news for SDA funded participants who wish to continue living with their (non-SDA funded) family members.

For NDIS Participants living with an extreme functional impairment, Specialist Disability Accommodation provides a more independent and accessible living environment compared to mainstream housing.

Previously, SDA funded participants had the option to live alone in a single bedroom dwelling or live in a shared home with other SDA funded participants. This meant they couldn't live with their non-NDIS family or loved ones, which contradicted the NDIS aim of promoting choice and control.

Fortunately, this situation has been rectified through legislative change and recently, the new “APPENDIX H” funding which was released in the 2023-24 NDIS SDA Pricing Arrangements. Eligible SDA participants now have the opportunity to live with their non-NDIS family members or loved ones in their selected property. This change has been met with widespread relief and excitement, not only from those seeking SDA funding but also from advocates dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.

While this change may not impact all SDA participants directly, its significance lies in the newfound ability for individuals with disabilities to exercise the same rights as all other Australians—the right to choose their living arrangements. This means people with extreme functional impairment no longer face the difficult decision between moving into an SDA home for greater independence or being separated from their family.

The DHC have a number of new homes in our pipeline which are suitable for participants with Appendix H funding. To discuss what’s available, contact Ashleigh to discuss your housing needs.
Ashleigh Smith – NDIS Accommodation Manager – M: 0409 528 739

You can search for SDA availability in our Accommodation Listings.

How accessible is your workplace?

Emma Hocking took to the CEO Wheelie Challenge to find out.

The CEO Wheelie Challenge brings together leading CEOs, Executives and Business and Community Leaders to spend the day understanding the day-to-day challenges of people with a disability in a wheelchair. Emma was issued with her wheelchair and tasked with tackling a a regular work day from her chair. But first, the CEOs underwent a crash (not literally!) course on how to handle their new mode of transport, instructed by wheelchair users from the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association.

Access at the office

We were confident that our SDA Smart Homes office space would reasonably accommodate wheelchair access, but we were in for a few surprises.

Off to a good start! The front and back doors have ramp and smooth transition access so no problem wheeling into the office. 10/10

However, the upstairs office space is only accessible by stairs, precluding any employees or clients with mobility devices from accessing that area. This is technically 0/10 for accessibility but considering the lower floor is highly accessible and includes all amenities and meeting rooms, all business could be conducted on the lower floor if required. Fortunately, for the purposes of the Wheelie Challenge, Emma's office is on the ground level.

Accessing Emma's Workspace

More good news at Emma's desk. The doorways are wide and the offices are spacious. Plenty of room to manoeuvre a mobility aid. 10/10

Success! Emma's chair fits under her desk. The adjustable height keyboard pad and laptop stand allow her to adopt an ergonomic working position. 9/10

The only draw back in Emma's office was the carpet. Smooth flooring, such as vinyl or tiles, is optimal for wheelchair use as carpet increases wheel friction and therefore requires greater effort from the wheelchair user. We'll give this a 7/10 as it's a very low profile carpet which is not as problematic as plush carpets.

What about the facilities?

We have a fantastic, wheelchair accessible bathroom. It's incredibly spacious to allow for easy circulation and transfers. 10/10

Unfortunately, the door is operated by a spring loaded auto closing mechanism. This mechanism makes the door quite heavy to open. An able bodied person will need to "put their back into it" to operate the door. Using a wheelchair, Emma found this door very challenging and needed a co-worker to assist with the door's operation. 5/10

The verdict

Apart from the challenges of being an inexperienced wheelchair user, Emma found the SDA Smart Homes office space to be reasonably accessible. The main challenges were the heavy bathroom door and an upper floor inaccessible due to stairs. The low profile carpet was slightly more challenging than the smooth tiles areas but did not impose a significant challenge. On the positive side, she had no trouble entering the office dues to smooth transitions at entrances and throughout the office. The votes are in, and we've given SDA Smart Homes a 7/10 score for accessibility.


With the CEO Wheelie Challenge complete for 2022, we are all left to reflect on how we can make our workplaces & public spaces more accessible for all people.

Learn more about the Sporting Wheelies CEO Challenge on their website: https://fundraise.sportingwheelies.org.au/event/wheelchair-challenge/home

Stay tuned for our next instalment, detailing Emma's wheelie experience at an SDA Smart Home.