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Endeavour Foundation CEO David Barbagallo says breaking the link between housing and other supports is essential in the fight against abuse and the drive to place people with a disability at the forefront of decisions about their future.
Urging Federal and State Governments to prioritise housing for people with a disability, Mr Barbagallo said that empowerment through choice is a core tenet of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“If Governments don’t fix housing they won’t fix anything – with or without the NDIS. Seven hundred million dollars every year has been set aside within NDIA funding to address housing issues but, instead of sitting down and working out how to put that to good use, what we are seeing is posturing by both State and Federal Governments,” he said.
Mr Barbagallo said the first step was to seek out the views of people with a disability, carers and the wider sector.
“The enmeshed relationship between housing and personal support intrinsically renders people with a disability vulnerable. If your housing options are limited and tied in with the supports you receive, how could you contemplate reporting abuse by co-tenants or inappropriate support arrangements? The fact that the roof over your head could be threatened by speaking out is the very definition of disempowerment.
“The majority of people with a disability are telling us they want to live in a home of their own and choose with whom they live. About one third would like a form of shared living, and want support models that maximise personal freedom,” he said.
“For people with a disability who have limited income, housing affordability on the open market is another big concern. Housing must be properly funded and it must be done now, so that when the NDIS begins to roll-out more widely, people with a disability gain choice, independence and control in every aspect of their lives,” Mr Barbagallo said.
Endeavour Foundation provides residential or full-time in-home support to more than 608 Australians with a disability in the community, with the ultimate aim of greater independence, choice and control for the people we support.
Note to media – Mr Barbagallo is available for interview.
National Media & Communications Manager
Mobile 0429 077 886