Access 2 Place welcomes new Board Chair Natasha Rees
We are pleased to announce that the Access 2 Place Housing (A2P) Board has a new Chairperson. With the departure of Mel Blondell at the end of June, the A2P Board appointed Natasha Rees to the role of Board Chair.
Ms Rees joined the A2P Board in January 2020 providing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and human services experience to the organisation. Now as Board Chair she is taking the community housing provider into its 10th year and is determined for A2P to bring the knowledge and expertise of specialist disability housing to anyone looking for a home that better suits their needs.
“Our approach at Access 2 Place is unique because our tenants can choose their disability support provider independent of their landlord. It truly provides choice and control for people, so that if they decide to change their support provider, they don’t have to move house,” Ms Rees explains.
“We also specialise in homes for people with complex disabilities including building homes in all four NDIS housing categories of fully accessible, improved liveability, high physical support and robust construction.
“We are the only provider in SA who is building robust homes for people with challenging behaviours. This type of housing is very strong and durable, to make it safe for our tenants and their support workers. We have 17 in development at the moment.”
The disability sector has changed significantly since A2P was established in 2014, the same year that the NDIS started in South Australia. A2P was established to be the disability housing trust of South Australia and in less than 10 years the not-for-profit has grown to become the leading provider of specialist disability housing in the state.
The organisation is filling the gap for specialist disability housing in the social housing space. “But we’re currently a bit of a secret and that’s something we’re wanting to change. We’re experts in purpose-built housing for people with disability and we would like more people to know about how good home design can improve their independence and help them thrive,” Ms Rees says.
“Housing is such a fundamental basic need, but good housing design goes beyond just being a place to live, it can improve the independence and wellbeing of people with disability. A good home design that accommodates a person’s specific needs can have a big impact on their wellbeing and quality of life.”
A2P partners with new and existing tenants to build homes for them that suit their individual needs. They are involved in the design from the very beginning. Having a number of projects in the works, all at different stages from planning to nearing completion, we have plans to ramp up development of purpose-built housing to ensure even more people with disability have access to secure and affordable housing.
Whilst a celebration to acknowledge the first 10 years of A2P is on the cards for next year, Ms Rees and the Board have a vision to cement A2P’s position as a leading expert in purpose-built disability homes well into the future.
“I would like to see us continue to build houses in partnership with our tenants, that is designed by them and that they can think of as their own home,” Ms Rees says. “I would also like to expand our housing in regional South Australia, so that people with disability living outside of Adelaide can stay close to their family and friends.
“I am looking forward to continuing the path that the board has been on for the last couple of years with our plan to build 100 homes in 10 years. We are well on the way with 9 already completed and 22 in development.”