ACT News

Custom-built accommodation for people living with disability built in McKellar

In Canberra's north there is a house that looks perfectly normal from the outside, but is the latest addition to the capital's growing, custom-built accommodation for people living with disability.

The house accommodates four residents with a variety of cognitive, learning and communication impediments, for all of whom this is their first time living out of home.

CHC Affordable Housing is focusing on providing accommodation for people with a disability and for ageing Canberrans.
CHC Affordable Housing is focusing on providing accommodation for people with a disability and for ageing Canberrans. 

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was joined by the residents and families of the specialised accommodation at the McKellar opening on Thursday, March 24.

Kim Sinclair, CEO of the organisation behind the house, CHC Affordable Housing, said, "From the outside it just looks like a nice big brand-new home."

But inside the design has been specifically tailored to match the needs of the four residents.

"In the design, everything is level, we minimise stairs, whether it's from where you park your car or walking into the house," Ms Sinclair said.

There are also extra-wide corridors, larger light switches, side opening ovens, and screenless showers so it's easy for the residents to get in and out.

A fifth bedroom has also been dedicated to overnight support carers who stay at the house.

According to Ms Sinclair, demand for the disability housing market has been on the increase since the National Disability Insurance Scheme came into action in 2013.

"This will be the tip of the iceberg," Ms Sinclair said.

"Now people with a disability can put together their own care and support packages as they need it and by doing that it allows them to move independently," she said.

"We're having a lot more conversations with people coming to us asking whether we're doing anything more in the space – which we are."

Over the next five years, CHC Affordable Housing says it will be focusing on providing accommodation for people with a disability and for ageing Canberrans.

Ms Sinclair said, "We already have about 53 people in our portfolio across Canberra. But we're making sure that we're keeping that [disability housing] ratio up as we continue to grow."

"The success of this is not just the house that has been built but the partnerships that have been built with the support providers, the families and the residents," she said.