2014

A Basic Right: d4d Releases Housing and Accommodation Policy

South Australia must do better to help our most vulnerable into good housing, Dignity for Disability Party Leader Kelly Vincent MLC said today when releasing her party’s housing and accommodation policy.

“Adequate housing is a basic human right, but there are still South Australians who go without accommodation or live in poor conditions,” said Ms Vincent.

“This is shameful in a place like SA where we have the ability to change that situation.”

“And with our ageing population universal design principles benefit the whole community from cradle to grave, good design improves everybody’s experience of the built environment. Wider doorways, ramps instead of steps and lower switches provide equitable use for people of all ages and abilities, and are cost effective compared to retro-fitting,” said Ms Vincent.

Dignity for Disability’s seven-part policy takes in everything from more accommodation for those most in need to ensuring environmentally-friendly and accessible future housing stock:

– Clear the unmet needs list. “The people on this list are classified by the Government as being “homeless and in immediate and high risk of harm to self or others” – yet they are denied basic services such as housing,” said Ms Vincent.

“These people can’t wait for the National Disability Insurance Scheme to arrive in five years time, they need help now. Invest in clearing the list, and put an end to one of SA’s most shameful inequalities.”

– Inclusive supported accommodation and respite. “It’s essential that the unmet needs list for respite and accommodation is cleared with the provision of adaptive, innovative and inclusive supported accommodation options,” said Ms Vincent. “It’s essential that both these temporary and longer term accommodation options provide real connection to the community, and high quality, responsive service provision.”

– Create more accessible public housing. “As a group that is twice as likely to live below the poverty line, people with disabilities should be a high priority when building public housing – all ground floor properties should be made accessible using universal design principles,” said Ms Vincent.

– Environmentally sustainable public housing. “As well as moving toward accessible design in our public housing stock, South Australia should also aim to be environmentally sustainable in their public housing design,” said Ms Vincent. “All new housing stock built should be equipped with solar panels and should exceed the energy efficiency standards mandated in SA.”

– Review the Supported Residential Facilities Act. “We need to review the Supported Residential Facilities Act and make amendments that stop the current cost-cutting we see in the industry. The current prioritisation of profits puts residents in danger,” said Ms Vincent.

– Encourage accessible affordable housing developments. “New government and council supported developments such as the Ergo and Bowden apartments are a perfect opportunity to introduce accessibility measures into private developments,” said Ms Vincent. “Councils and governments should predicate their investment in such developments on the application of universal design principles.”

– Create a mandatory reporting system for people with disabilities living in care.
“A mandatory reporting regime for people with disabilities living in care or accessing care services should immediately be enacted by legislation,” said Ms Vincent. “Mandatory reporting will act as a safeguard for people who may not have the chance to speak up for themselves.”