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How does Enliven Housing choose our SDA apartments?

Published - 03/23/2023
Author - Enliven Housing

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As the founder of Enliven Housing the most frequent question I get asked is “How do you know where to purchase Specialist Disability Apartments?”

The answer is relatively simple. When we started Enliven Housing in 2018 there was lots of procrastination on my part on which areas warranted investment, which areas had sufficient demand, which areas were over supplied, which areas would resonate with the sector. The sector was equally divided on these questions with some people taking a more qualitative approach versus a quantitative one. There are plenty of quantitative reports including the The NDIS Demand Map from Social Services which identifies the best places to build accessible properties. The NDIA Quarterly Report providing raw numbers that track demand for SDA dwellings. These reports offer rich insight into demand for our sector.

The NDIS Demand Maphttps://blcw.dss.gov.au/ndis-demand-map/

The NDIA Quarterly Reporthttps://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/publications/quarterly-reports

In 2019 I was looking at a suburb in Sydney which another SDA provider had recently delivered 10 SDA apartments to market. I was being criticised for considering delivering an additional 10 apartments in the same location. It was suggested to me this would be oversupply or a concentration of disability in the area and especially so because they had heard the other apartments were only 50% occupied after 12 months. I viewed it as an opportunity because the area was booming, more than 3000 new apartments were being approved and delivered in this suburb alone which verified the demand for people wanting to live in this area if the right product was delivered. The opportunity presented itself to deliver 10 superior 2-bedroom apartments and we were correct with this approach because 10 participants moved into our apartments within less than 3 months of completion. The lesson for Enliven Housing was analytical analysis of suburb metrics are helpful but speaking and working with the sector daily also provides the insights into which areas are in demand. Daily participant engagement and the collection of that data provides Enliven Housing with the depth of knowledge on where participants want to live. My team and I have always taken the approach.

“Would I want to live in this location in this development?”

Every time Enliven Housing has asked this question of itself, we have invariably delivered an SDA apartment in which demand has outstripped supply.

What are the criteria that would make you want to live in one location over another? Enliven Housing breaks these down to common sense requirements such as:

Location, location, location: Location is the most important characteristic for residential real-estate buyers and participants looking for SDA location are no different. Follow where buyers want to live, and you will have very happy participants.

Amenity: When we speak about amenity, we are interested in amenities on site such as roof-top terraces with break-out areas, common areas where owners and tenants can enjoy areas outside of their apartments. Walking distances from shopping amenities, coffee shops, libraries etc all contribute to making a location more desirable. Good amenity increases independence.

Transport: A property near accessible and user-friendly public transport can also reduce a participant’s reliance on core support funding and reduce a participants transport budget. Transport is important to everyone.

Apartment size: Frequently, we locate a wonderful suburb but the size and location of the apartments within a development does not meet our accessibility and manoeuvrability requirements. An apartments size and functionality are a critical criteria for the Enliven Housing design team when designing an SDA apartment.

Lastly, our CEO, Faye Minty often quotes a maxim of the disability rights movement “There’s nothing about us, without us”. Following that philosophy our organisation is always asking the most obvious question, “What do the participants want?” Like any successful customer focused business, we listen to our participants.

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