Housing options under the NDIS

The NDIS has been a game changer when it comes to housing for people with a disability, providing more options, more support and the ability to live more independently for many.

It’s important to know that only a small percentage of NDIS participants will receive NDIS funding for accommodation (called specialist disability accommodation).

For the majority, NDIS also won’t cover funding for rent or any other type of day to day costs like telephone, internet or groceries.

What the NDIS will fund on a much more regular basis is the support that can enable independent living.

Participants are now able access life skills building like cooking, budgeting and learning to catch public transport. They can request home modifications, or access a support worker to assist with showering, shopping or preparing meals in the home environment, all providing more confidence to live more independently.

Many more people with a disability are finally able to realise their dream that they may – for the first time - be able to move out of the family home or a group home and into mainstream housing with people they choose and in an area they choose.

Sometimes preparing for such a move can be a process over a number of years. It is important to talk to your planner about your longer-term goals and how and where you would like to live, and with whom. This can be factored into your plan, with a specific goal to work towards increased independent living.

Help to find a suitable home

There are a number of different housing options for you to consider, to work out what’s right for you. You can request ‘coordination of supports’ in your plan to fund a support coordinator to help you look at the various housing options available to you.

There is also a support item ‘Assistance with Accommodation and Tenancy Obligations’ that can provide you with assistance to obtain and/or retains appropriate accommodation. This can include assisting you to apply for a rental tenancy or to undertake tenancy obligations. You’ll need to ask for this in your plan.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Some Australians living with disability require access to Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) which is housing designed for those with very high support needs and/or extreme functional impairment. Only about 6% (28,000) of NDIS participants are estimated to be eligible for SDA, although the actual figure may be higher.

The National Disability Insurance Agency makes the decision about who is eligible for SDA.

Eligible participants requiring access to SDA will have funding included in their plan to cover any disability-related housing costs that are above the ordinary costs of housing. Tenants will still need to pay a ‘reasonable rent contribution’.

SDA funding does not cover support costs, which are assessed and funded separately by the NDIS. These are known as Supported Independent Living (SIL) costs – see below. These in-home supports no longer need to be provided by the housing provider which means that SDA and SIL providers will be two separate providers.

Usually SDA is shared with other people, either in a unit or a house. There’s a move away from larger style residential ‘facilities’ to smaller three or five bedroom shared homes, with the largest growth expected to take place in the duplex/townhouse housing type (1-3 bedrooms).

The next generation of NDIS housing is expected to not look any different from any other housing, it is designed for independence and is close to amenities.

Mainstream housing options

Mainstream housing options are all housing options that are not SDA and are options available to all Australians including the following.

Private rental or house sharing

This means to rent a house, unit or apartment from a landlord and may include living with others who don’t a disability, living with friends, or house sharing.

The NDIS will not pay your rent as it does not pay for costs that people who don’t have a disability incur in their daily lives.

You can use any income you may have and/or your Disability Support Pension and Commonwealth Rent Assistance (if you are entitled to them) towards your rent.

Many people have found sharing a house with one or two others can significantly reduce the amount of rent they pay, and they may be able to share supports e.g. a support worker stays overnight to enable independent living, or helps housemates with dinner, or to catch the bus with them to work, which also helps reduce support costs.

Private renting may also give you greater choice over who you live with and where you live e.g. close to work, close to public transport and other community activities you may participate in.

Private rentals that are older may not be as accessible as you require, so think about what you need now but also what you may need in 12 months’ time or further afield e.g. whether it is wheelchair accessible, whether you may need to modify the bathroom.

Home modifications in private rentals – such as installing handrails or ramps – may be funded under the NDIS but they will need to be approved by your landlord beforehand and you’ll need to request them in your plan.

Public housing and community housing

Public housing is delivered through state governments, and there are usually long waiting lists. Not everyone is eligible for public housing, it depends on your income and what you own. Your state government housing department can talk to you about what the eligibility requirements are, and how to apply for housing.

Community/social housing is similar to public housing but is usually managed by a not-for-profit organisation who own the property.

Living in the family home or your own home

Many people with a disability prefer to stay in the family home or their own home with their nearest and dearest, and families often prefer that option too. While funding is not available under the NDIS for this option – in other words, to go to parents towards ‘board’ - there is still plenty of support available.

There’s a raft of options available now through the NDIS such as in-home support, community access or respite to complement ‘informal support’ (often family support) for things like showering, home maintenance, transportation, life skills or cooking, making staying at home a more viable option for those who prefer it.

Home modifications are also able to be funded if they are required to stay in your own home such as the installation of ramps, bathroom modifications, rails.

Supported independent living – support at home

Supported independent living is funding for supervising tasks of daily life in a shared living environment, either temporary or ongoing. People with a disability who live in a private rental setting, own their own home and live with others, or those who live in specialist disability accommodation may be eligible.

The funding for these items vary in the NDIS price guide and are dependent upon the level of support required, as well as the number of people living in the shared setting. There are three levels available*:

  • Lower need – provides supervision of living arrangements and is not usually provided 24/7.
  • Standard need – provides 24/7 support including active assistance and/or supervision of most daily tasks, overnight sleepovers.
  • Complex need – provides highly frequent assistance to the individual with: managing challenging behaviours that require intensive positive behaviour support, continual active assistance with all daily tasks, active management of complex medical needs, active support 24/7 including overnight.

*for full descriptions of these categories, please consult the NDIS Price Guide.

While many people will receive SIL funding only, a minority of participants will receive SDA and SIL together. In these cases the SIL provider and SDA provider will be separate providers.

The NDIS certainly brings incredible opportunities to live more independently and in ways that have not been an option previously.

So, it’s important to have an idea about what you would like before you attend your planning meeting and factor this into your goals to get the outcomes that you want to achieve in your life.

For more information on your housing options under the NDIS, call the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110.

At Endeavour Foundation, we have a number of Supported Independent Living vacancies which could be a perfect fit for you.

If you are interested in one of our properties, we’d love to show you around. Please contact us to

For more information about supported independent living and how we can support you, please call us on 1800 112 112 or send an online enquiry.

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