A2P’s Opinion on Separating Housing and Support Services in the NDIS

    Separation of Housing and Support Under the NDIS

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was established in 2013 with the goal of empowering individuals with disabilities to pursue their aspirations, enhance their abilities, and actively participate in society. It aims to provide support, enhance personal autonomy, and enable individuals to control their lives and futures. However, when housing and support services are intertwined, decisions affecting one aspect inevitably impact the other. To truly empower participants with choice and control, it is crucial that housing and support services are provided by separate entities.

    The Importance of Separating Services

    The 2023 NDIS  Review recommendation included a specific policy approach to dissociate the funding and provision of housing from disability support services. Traditionally, these services were bundled, meaning that individuals received both accommodation and support from the same provider. Separating these services ensures that individuals have more autonomy over where they live and the services they receive. This separation enables individuals to choose their living arrangements — be it renting a private home, residing in community housing, or owning their home — while independently selecting disability support providers that meet their specific needs.

    Challenges in the Current System

    When a Supported Independent Living (SIL) operator is providing the housing for their client, funding for support services may be diverted into the housing provision, diminishing service quality.  Such setups undermine the principle of choice and control that the NDIS strives to uphold. As we move towards better models, the onus is on regulators to tighten regulations and mandate a clear separation of housing from support services. This includes dismantling business models that compromise participant independence.

    Real-Life Implications

    For instance, A2P encountered a case where a support provider, who also offered accommodation, issued a 30-day notice period to cease support, leading to a situation where a participant was taken to a hospital unnecessarily and left without a home. Fortunately, temporary accommodation was later arranged. This scenario underscores the vulnerabilities created by the current system. Further, a participant should never be fearful of losing their home for raising concerns about substandard service or an leaving an unsatisfactory SIL provider.

    Improving the System

    Moreover, participants living in shared or group homes often face limited choices, as they must engage the same service provider as their housemates. This limitation further illustrates the need for policy improvements. The downward trend in average NDIS package values, coupled with rising compliance and quality requirements, is creating challenging market conditions for SIL operators, prompting some to operate at a loss.

    Vision for the Future

    A2P advocates for increased collaboration between community housing providers, participants, and support services to develop contemporary, purpose-built homes that reduces development and vacancy risks. Such collaborative efforts will empower participants to engage more fully in the community and have greater control over their lives, leading to enhanced outcomes.


    Last year’s SDA Pricing Review highlighted that appropriate funding models are crucial for achieving desired outcomes, such as maintaining or enhancing functional capacity, reducing future support needs, and strengthening community ties. With improved policy settings to clearly separate housing from support services, SIL operators can better focus on providing quality support without the burden of housing costs.

    A continued commitment to strengthening policy settings by the NDIS is essential for enabling participants to lead independent lives and choose their support providers freely. This calls for greater cooperation across the sector to align funding with the most suitable housing options, ensuring that every participant can exercise genuine choice and control over their lives.