Building Tenancy Skills
Building capacity to maintain tenancies
Building capacity to maintain tenancies
Shelter WA, in a partnership with People with Disabilities WA (PWdWA) has commenced a project to build resources that help tenants with disability feel more confident about their rights and responsibilities as tenants. We will work alongside people with disability and relevant advocacy, financial counselling, disability, consumer protection, community legal, housing and housing support providers to develop skills and resources to help prevent evictions and reduce the risk of homelessness for people with disability. Organisations will also be supported to increase the accessibility of their supports and resources so they are more available to people with disability who would like to access the services on offer.
Watch a recent presentation giving an overview of the project from Dr Donna Turner
There are approximately 411,500 people who experience disability of some kind who are living in Western Australia. The vast majority either own or are buying their home or are renting privately in the community. (ABS 2019) People who experience higher levels of disability are more likely to be renting in social housing. If the person experiences a high level of disability and has a high need for support, they may receive NDIS funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation or funding to assist with living independently. However, individualised NDIS funding is available to only a small percentage of people. In June 2021, 41,000 people in WA were receiving individualised NDIS funding.
The majority of people with disability who would like tenancy support will access mainstream services, including legal advice, advocacy, financial counselling and assistance with arrears. Access to these services can be the difference between a person being able to keep their rental home or being evicted. What we see currently is that people with disability are more likely to experience issues during rental inspections (Choice, 2018).
This project will work alongside people with lived experience of disability and renting to develop a Workshop to enhance their knowledge and confidence about renting. The project will also seek collaborations with service providers who would like to enhance their ability to work with clients who experience disability and are seeking support with a tenancy related issue.
The project will run until February 2023 with the evaluation to be completed by April 2023.
Note: Many people do not use the word disability in relation to their own experience but in this project, the term includes people who experience ongoing challenges in their everyday lives that can impact on their ability to maintain their rented property. This includes people who experience physical and sensory restrictions, an acquired brain injury, neurological, or intellectual disability. People who are living with mental health challenges or problematic substance use are also included if they experience psychosocial disability.
The Co-Design Team are currently working with a number of service providers to develop new resources. They are also developing the Building Tenancy Skills Workshop. They are using resources that already exist, as well as developing new materials when necessary. Filming will shortly commence to produce videos that encourage tenants to reach out for support and to provide practical tips for dealing with some of the stresses of renting. By July, the workshop will be ready for piloting.
The Advisory Group have identified a number of areas for future work including gathering more feedback from organisations and tenants in regional areas and ensuring that people from diverse back grounds can access tenancy support services. The Centre for Social Impact UWA is analysing data from the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers to help us identify the changing trends in renting amongst tenants with disability.
One of the clearest trends is the growing disparity amongst over 55’s between those with disability, who are much more likely to be renting, and those without disability who are more likely to be homeowners.
These are photos from March 2021 when members of the Co-Design Team and service providers from Circle Green, the Financial Counsellors’ Association of Western Australia, People with Disabilities WA Inc. and Consumer Protection worked together to identify useful resources on tenancy issues.
The Western Australia Disability & Housing Forum commences on Tuesday, 12 July with a series of free events over two weeks. The Forum is for people with disability, their families, and carers, and others who are interested, as part of the Opening the Door project,
The project is trying to help people with disability to make their own choices and take control of their housing options themselves. Register here.
Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
Visit www.dss.gov.au for more information.