Housing Renewal for People of all Abilities

2 March, 2017

The Julia Farr Housing Association (JFHA) welcomes the South Australian Government’s objective to renew all old Housing Trust homes located within 10 kilometres of the city in the next five years. 

4500 old houses will be bulldozed to make way for smaller one-to two bedroomed urban dwellings.

JFHA Chief Operating Officer Geoff Barber says this is a unique opportunity to embrace universal design to ensure the State’s public housing is accessible to the whole community.

“Older houses are often difficult to navigate for people with reduced mobility. They were built back in a time when little thought was given to ensuring people living with disability could live in their own home,” Mr Barber says.

“It’s a reality that many people living with disability live on reduced income and require affordable housing. A program of this type provides an opportunity to upgrade and construct new dwellings which better respond to the needs of people of all abilities.”

Mr Barber says the government should set targets for housing numbers to be consistent with universal design principles which allow people of all abilities to live within, and connect to, their community.

In 2010, Australian housing leaders agreed to provide minimum access features in all new housing by 2020. [The Australian Network of Universal Housing Design highlights with a few exceptions that the housing industry has not responded. They anticipate that only 5 per cent of 2020 target will be met unless these features are regulated. Regulating minimum access features will allow many more people to stay in their homes, and to visit others—regardless of their age, ability or life circumstances.]

“Even once the dwellings are built we’ll need a good property matching service. It would be a shame to have houses with improved building access but fail to ensure the people who need these features are living in them,” Mr Barber says.

“We encourage the government to continue to work in partnership with local, specialised community housing providers to achieve this target. We believe the government should focus its contribution toward these projects to include outcomes for people living with disability and other people living with increased vulnerability,” he says.

“We will be writing to Renewal SA to highlight Julia Farr Housing Association as an ideal joint venture partner. We bring expertise in design as well as home ownership and tenancy management”.

JFHA is a specialist not-for-profit disability housing provider. We have a strong track record in developing and managing a range of accessible housing that gives tenants maximum control over their surroundings, with close proximity to community amenities and networks.

We focus on best-practice social landlord services, and have long advocated for (and practised) separation of the landlord role from the support provider role.

JFHA works in collaboration with stakeholders in the government and construction sectors to help ensure housing genuinely advances the life chances of South Australians living with disability and their families.  



CONTACT: Geoff Barber on 0417 858 188