The release today of the Every Australian Counts survey on housing needs and preferences for people with disability provides a vivid account of the shortfall in suitable housing in this sector and its impacts on individuals.

While the report reveals that, overwhelmingly,  people with a disability are supported in the family home;  the preferences of respondents were quite markedly for a  safe, affordable home of their own or, to a lesser extent, shared living arrangements with friends or peers (but usually no more than one or two).  In short, their preferences were the same as most other Australians.  This is against a background where there are massive waiting lists for accessible and affordable housing for people with a disability.

“From Carers Australia’s perspective, some of the most important findings of the survey reflected the anxiety and frustration experienced by family and friend carers in relation to what will happen to the person they care for when they are gone or are no longer able to go on,” said Ara Cresswell, CEO of Carers Australia.

“However, this is not carers’ only concern.  Like the people with disability who responded to the survey, they too are strongly committed to securing independence and freedom for those they care for.

“It is important to note that we are not only talking about people with a physical disability,” said Ara Cresswell.

“Indeed, 20% of the responses related to a person on the autism spectrum, 16% to a person with an intellectual disability and 8% to people with a psychosocial disorder.

“Suitable housing for people with a disability is not just about equipment and home modifications.  It also involves the design and use of internal and external domestic space, proximity to a range of supports and a number of safety dimensions.”

As governments across Australia address housing shortages – particularly affordable housing – the need of people with disability to be able to live independently in accommodation of their choice must be addressed.

The Every Australian Counts report can be found at: