Having a Home forum

WE MAKE INCLUSION HAPPEN by facilitating conversations about housing options for people with disability in the ACT.

2019 Having a Home Forum - Housing Options for People with Disability 

On Thursday 21 November 2019, the Office for Disability hosted the 2019 Having a Home Forum to provide people with disability and their families with information about how to plan for having a home.

Ms Suzanne Orr, the then ACT Minister for Disability, welcomed guests to the 2019 Having a Home Forum:

Keynote Speakers: 


Marita Walker is the Branch Manager - Scheme Innovation, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). She is part of a national team responsible for strategic advice, research and inclusion. Her work currently focuses on the WA Individual Living Options to be effectively transitioned and the approach developed to be adopted nationally. 

Marita Walker gave a presentation on the Individual Living Options Project

(PDF of presentation slides)

Dr Penny Galbraith FAIB, FRICS is a project manager, builder and access consultant with a career-long interest in accessibility and universal design. Consultancy roles have covered a range of clients and built environment forms. Recently, Penny assisted the Australian Human Rights Commission build an evidence base in respect of housing policy and standards as well as delivering accessibility and universal design training in Sri Lanka. Penny is an Accredited ACAA Access Consultant, Director of the Centre for Universal Design Australia and Subject Matter Expert on disability for the Australian Building Codes Board.    

Dr Penny Galbraith gave a presentation on the Benefits of Universal Design in Housing: 

(PDF of presentation slides)



Professor Christine Bigby is the Director - Living with Disability Research Centre, La Trobe University. She has a national and international reputation for her research on the social inclusion of adults with intellectual disability. The focus of her work is policy issues, program effectiveness and front-line practice that supports quality of life outcomes for people with intellectual disability. She has gained over $10m in competitive and industry funding. Her current funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and other grants are examining the effectiveness of supported accommodation services, the nature and meaning of social inclusion for people with intellectual disability, and supported decision making for people with cognitive disability.

Professor Christine Bigby gave a presentation on What does the Evidence say about Housing and Support for People with Intellectual Disability:

(PDF of presentation slides)


What's On Offer - Organisations represented at the forum

Local housing and support organisations presented a 5-minute ‘pitch’ of service offerings for people with disability who are considering their living options:

Abbeyfield Garran provides affordable, inclusive, home-like, and safe accommodation for compatible young adults with a mild cognitive disability where residents can build on their independence with dignity and choice. 

ADACAS (The A.C.T. Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service) is an independent, not-for-profit, advocacy organisation helping people with disability, older people and their carers. ADACAS’ vision is ‘a community in which everyone may exercise their rights and responsibilities, lead lives of value and dignity, and pursue their dreams’

Aruma specialises in Supported Independent Living (SIL). SIL is an NDIS support where a person with a disability lives with other people. Residents also receive support with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking and personal care.

CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn is a registered Community Housing Provider providing a range of independent and supported housing options for senior citizens, people with a disability or mental illness, and people experiencing homelessness.

Community Connections Inc. is passionate about providing people with disability in Canberra with the tools and opportunities they need to improve their independence and quality of life. They support people with disability with natural support networks, helping them minimise dependence on paid service and maximise their inclusion in the community.

Focus ACT provide personalised and flexible support to people with intellectual disability to set up and maintain a home in the community, live as independently as possible, choose their lifestyle, manage their daily lives, stay safe and secure, keep in touch with their families. 

Imagine More is a change agency advocacy group which aims to strengthen families and enhance communities. Imagine More embraces the opportunity to inspire, resource and motivate individuals with a disability and their families to discover better life chances so that they can live an ordinary life.

Rights and Inclusion Australia has a current focus towards more equitable and accessible housing together with programs involving Indigenous people with a disability the ACT.

Summer Foundation's vision is that people with disability and complex support needs live where and with whom they choose, with access to high quality housing and support options that enhance health, wellbeing and participation

The Disability Trust provides quality housing supports to people with disability, through Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), housing and tenancy management services and shared independent living arrangements.

Valmar offers both Group Home and Drop-In Community Living Support for people with disability.


More information about these organisations and their services is available in these presentation slides (PDF) and at the links to each organisation above. 


2018 Having a Home Forum -  Housing Options for People with Disability

The Office for Disability (in the Community Services Directorate) hosted the Having a Home Forum on 16 November 2018 to start a conversation about housing options for people with disability in the ACT.

We all know there are many pieces in the puzzle of having a home. People with disability must consider a wide range issues when piecing this puzzle together; accessibility, connection to community, supports, affordability, living independently, sharing a home, availability of places that could be called home.

The Having a Home forum brought people together to share information and start building the networks we will need to make these solutions happen.

Presenters at the forum included:

  • The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
  • Dan McLennan, CEO, Summer Housing (Melbourne)
  • Tony Rutherford, Senior Partner, Moores (Sydney)
  • James Hooper (Lighthouse Infrastructure, Melbourne), Kirk Robinson and Scott Ellis (BFIN investment bank, Sydney)
  • Court Walters, Specialist Housing Support Coordinator, Araluen (Melbourne)
  • Owen Jourdain, Managing Director, Illowra Projects (Victoria)
  • Sally Richards, Benambra Intentional Community (ACT)

The Forum recognised that no one can solve this jigsaw puzzle alone, we need to work together.

Please refer to the Office for Disability's Housing and Tenancy page on the Community Services Directorate website for a video and summary of each presentation, slides (where available), and other relevant information. Additional information and resources shared at the Having a Home Forum are also listed below.


by Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith

(previous ACT Minister for Disability) 


To view all the presentations from the 2018 Having a Home Forum please go to our youtube page


Further information

See 2018 Media release:  Upcoming Having a Home Forum about housing options for people with disability" - Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA

The ACT Homes and Housing website includes information about the ACT Housing Strategy and Affordable Housing. 

See further information on local housing and support providers on the Housing options in Canberra and How do I find a home? pages.