As parents caring for their disabled children at home reach retirement, and children become adults with needs and goals of their own, families face difficult choices.

These decisions are harder because Australia lacks a systematic approach to life stage transitions for these families with a chronic shortage of specialised and supported accommodation.

Parent-carers also reach old age with much worse health outcomes than their peers, meaning they also need housing and care solutions.

As part of our Partnerships Program, we are exploring solutions to this challenge, working with a group of adults with intellectual disabilities, their parent-carers, the City of Wyndham (in Melbourne’s outer-western growth corridor) and world-leading experts from Deakin University’s HOME research network.

This collaboration brings together broad expertise to build the capacity of families to create housing solutions for themselves. This includes urban design, co-design, community living, architecture, program evaluation, supported communication, health and disability, and legal analysis.

With this support, we hope the families will be able to evaluate potential for-profit and not-for-profit development partners and lead the creation of their own sustainable communities.

As we track and evaluate the project, we aim to discover how merging opportunities can create a new approach to specialised, consumer-led housing creation scaleable across Australia.

Options will include the new NDIS funding, the Commonwealth-supported bond aggregator agency for social housing finance, state-level planning reforms, and the emergence of new property development models.

The team will identify obstacles to consumer-led place making and advise governments on policy reforms to unlock the potential off all these emerging possibilities. We will also develop practice guides for consumers, families and developers, so they can replicate the journey without the same level of expert support.

Providing solutions for thousands of families across Australia marginalised by the mainstream property market is no meagre ambition, but we’re up for the challenge!