What effect does housing assistance have on social inclusion for people with disabilities?

Social isolation Disability Housing Neighbourhood effects Australia
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The project involved 98 face-to-face interviews with persons with a disability in NSW, SA and Vic; focus groups with service providers; and interviews with social housing providers.

The research found that housing assistance has a very substantial impact on the social inclusion of persons with a disability in Australia. Housing assistance:

  • Provides stability in the lives of persons living with a disability who would otherwise be vulnerable to a range of negative circumstances and who may otherwise have no sense of control over their lives.
  • Improves resilience and independence by helping people with a disability deal with crises in their lives in relation to health, family relationships, monetary concerns etc.
  • Reduces exposure to very high housing costs and the risk of eviction–thereby reducing vulnerability to homelessness.
  • Improves employability in paid employment which has social inclusion benefits both for the individual and broader society.
  • Provides opportunities for being heard so that people with disabilities find a voice within their community, which in turn enables engagement with wider social institutions.

Governments can improve social inclusion for persons with a disability by:

  • Providing more social housing and targeting it to this vulnerable group.
  • Avoiding concentrating persons with a disability in particular neighbourhoods.
  • Ensuring housing is appropriate to the needs of the person with a disability and their household through modifications and providing on-going maintenance.
  • Providing accommodation in places with good access to public transport in order to facilitate access to both services and employment.
  • Facilitating training and community development through housing assistance programs.
  • Providing private rental support programs such as that offered by Karingal in Geelong.
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