By Peter Orr, Chief Operations Officer

When I started at Afford as our Chief Operations Officer 15 months ago, it was clear that we had to improve the quality of the properties we offered to clients. They weren’t of a good enough standard, let alone the aspirational standard we should be aiming for. In many cases, they weren’t acceptable at all.

We’ve changed that.

What are our places? Our places comprise supported independent living homes, short-term accommodation, some specialist disability accommodation and community services hubs.

For those who need this broken down:

  • A Supported Independent Living (SIL) home is designed and arranged in a way to make it accessible for one or multiple people who live with disability to reside there. The clients’ NDIS funding pays for the daily supports in the home, including transportation, that Afford provides. Other costs such as rent and food are contributed to by the clients
  • Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is designed for people with additional needs and or high levels of ‘functional impairment’ (to use and NIDA term). The daily support operates with the same principles as SIL. but SDA is additional funding for home related needs.
  • Short-term accommodation (STA) provides short term support for people that is different to their usual routine. This could be short term stays in purpose-built accommodation, much like a SIL, or alternate support arrangements in their own home (e.g. if their carer is away).
  • Community Services Hubs are sites that clients can come to for the day to connect, socialise and participate in activities – or our teams provide this service to people in other spaces in the community.

When our Executive Leadership Team were appointed early 2022, we immediately commenced the process of thoroughly reviewing, relocating or removing properties from our portfolio if they were not meeting the standard of living we want to provide for our clients. The process has taken time, and we still have a long way to go, but we are making progress.

People’s aspirations for their future life, understanding their needs, wants and desires,  co-design processes and a bigger vision is needed.

We’re now working hard toward this vision at Afford and we have a plan for how to get there.

What have we changed with our places?

The changes to our places have been about what they are, how they work, and where they are. We know that just providing a house for people in any old place isn’t enough.

We want to provide homes where people feel connected to their community and opportunities.

We reviewed our properties according to contemporary standards for purpose-built, futureproof housing for people with disability. We also reviewed our properties in terms of the spaces within homes and how they enabled people to achieve their goals. So, for example, to ensure that kitchens are set up to enable people to independently cook f they love to cook and enjoy cooking.

In terms of connectivity, we are developing the digital architecture to enable clients to build relationships, find opportunities in life and work, be included and get access to services. Our focus on digital connectivity also includes automation within places.

We have also developed a professional property services and management team with decades of experience in work, health and safety; quality management; construction and facilities management; and IT.

What’s the vision for future change?

Our big audacious goal is to have refreshed and reinvigorated our entire portfolio of places within five years. We don’t plan on doing this alone, however, we are working now to develop partnerships with industry leaders in both Supported Independent Living and Specialist Disability Accommodation to provide optimum quality homes for our clients.

When we say optimum quality, we want anyone to want to live in and access our places. We want large bedrooms, private ensuite facilities, accessible and high spec kitchens, separate living spaces, natural light and integrated assisted technology. We want the houses to be close to parks, community centres, transport, education, health, retail and leisure amenities.

We have a world-leading model for funding when it comes to the NDIS. Our funding provides clients with choice. What we need to progress on is the housing stock, facilities and design that makes that funding deliver the aspiration of people living with disability.

Our vision is ultimately community integration, access to services, great standard of living and amenity, and above all else – happy clients who can realise their choices in life, community connection and work.

Was this page helpful?

Is there anything missing on this page? Please let us know

Is there anything missing on this page? Please let us know

Skip to content