Podcast highlights: Supporting a person whose housing isn’t working for them

Linda Hughes

In July 2021, we published a podcast series in which we discussed best practice support coordination. In episode 1, we spoke with Lauren Lovegrove and Marnie Roelink, who are support coordinators from MNDNSW, as well as 2 NDIS participants who Lauren and Marnie have supported – Vasemaca and Joanna. 

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The episode is in 2 parts and is focused on supporting someone whose housing isn’t working for them, a situation that both Vasemaca and Joanna were facing. In the episode we hear about some of the intricacies in establishing what’s most important to a person, and supporting someone to live their life in their new home. In this blog, we have captured some of the key takeaways.

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Understanding housing options

  • Be aware of all the housing and support options that are available, and how to find them, so you can share this information with the person and they can make an informed choice
  • Understand how different service options will fit with the person, not how the person fits with them
  • Explore a variety of online platforms for housing options (e.g. Housing Hub, GoNest, Compass)
  • Consult with others regarding housing options, for example (e.g. Housing Hub team at Summer Foundation, real estate agents)
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Establishing the person’s needs and preferences

  • Look at the bigger picture and whether a person’s environment is healthy and working for them
  • Consider how different housing options will address the person’s needs, including how it accommodates others who are important to the person and the way they do things
  • Consider what the person needs for their day-to-day life, but also their quality of life
  • Work alongside the person and others that are important to them
  • Be clear about why some property options don’t match a person’s preferences, and why others might
  • Be as specific as possible when establishing a person’s housing preferences (e.g. high rise, ground floor, quiet street, close to shops, rural or city)
  • Plan ahead, so you’re not just addressing a person’s current needs, but also their future needs
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Exploring housing options

  • Ensure the person has sufficient hours for both support coordination and OT support to effectively explore housing options to suit their needs
  • Share different options of housing and support providers with the person and their close supports
  • Carefully consider the location of a new home for the person and what they need to access (e.g. swimming pool,park, church, shopping centre, cafes and restaurants, public transport)
  • Consult with an OT experienced in housing options and SDA assessments/reports before starting to explore SDA, and ensure the person wants you to explore that pathway
  • Explore the SDA option as soon as you feel the person may be eligible for that pathway, given the lengthy timeframes to complete assessment reports and then to confirm the NDIA’s decision
  • Understand the time frames involved and be persisten
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Exploring support options

  • Consider the mix of core supports for the team, as well as on-site supports. Create opportunities for the person to meet the on-site staff before moving
  • Design the support options around the person and their goals, aspirations and what’s important to them
  • Tap into your creative skills and look outside the box of what’s currently available, through either funded supports or informal/mainstream supports
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Building a person’s vision of the future

  • Keep the person updated regularly on how their housing application is progressing – consider different ways of doing this, for example phone calls, emails, face-to-face where possible, or creating a flowchart with key steps that can be ticked off as they’re completed
  • Ensure that the person feels reassured and has trust in you by checking in with them regularly on what you’re doing
  • Ensure the person can see and feel the new environment
  • Ensure the person has updates for a new home that’s being built (e.g. photos from the housing provider on the build progress, opportunities to visit the new location and get to know the local area)
  • Consider how your communication may impact the person, including your tone of voice and showing empathy
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Collaborate with others to ensure a successful transition

  • Collaborate with key people to ensure the person’s transition into their new home is successful (e.g. person and their close supports, support provider, housing provider, OT)
  • Collaborate with the OT to ensure the home is set up before the person moves in, and explore whether this could be further personalised to meet any new needs the person has post-move (e.g. home automation system, bathroom access, sink or oven access, balcony access, assistive technology, lifestyle factors)
  • Understand who you need to approach for different issues that might arise after the person’s transition to their new home, for example, challenges with the automation
  • Create a contact list for the person after they move in, so they know who they can contact for what type of support
  • Collaborate with the person’s guardian to ensure the housing option approved for them has the right level of support available and is really meeting their needs
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Beyond the person’s move – exploring other alternatives

  • Understand the process for exploring alternative options if the new property isn’t right for the person
  • Ensure the person knows they can change providers if they want to, and support them in that process
  • Check in with the person after they move to ensure the support model is working for them, and understand how to explore alternatives if necessary
  • Understand what additional NDIS supports are available once the person moves into their new home, as their needs might change
  • Continue to review for weeks to months after the person has moved

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