Purpose-built disability housing was opened last week at Dee Why.

Registered Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) provider Good Housing unveiled its project called ‘Lilly Pilly‘ at Dee Why last Friday (25 February), providing independent living for people with extreme physical disability and high support needs.

Lilly Pilly includes five contemporary one-bedroom villas with a shared common area. Each villa includes open-plan living, a spacious kitchen, bedroom and en suite bathroom, as well as a private outdoor area and carefully designed interior. It is fully wheelchair accessible with wide corridors and no steps.

The traditional ‘group housing’ model is being reimagined to enable people living with disabilities to move into their own home. Lilly Pilly has a communal indoor and outdoor space designed to enhance social cohesion.

While it offers independence, residents also have 24-hour support with an on-site carer. All tenants also receive tailored support from Supported Independent Living (SIL) provider Nextt, who specialise in assisting people with a broad range of physical and cognitive disabilities.

Co-founder and Chief Innovator for Good Housing Sam Graiche (image above, right) said he was motivated by the lack of tailored disability housing solutions when he saw how his nephew living with special needs affected their family and the quality of their home environment.

“We could see the impact on quality of life for my sister and the strain that it put on her relationship with other members of the family while caring for her son.

“We thought that this was critically required and we set out on a mission to produce something better than what we could find in the market,” explained Mr Graiche.

With five homes now complete, including Lilly Pilly at Dee Why, Good Housing is planning to build around 300 homes providing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) registered disability accommodation across Australia over the next five years.

Good Housing purchased the Dee Why site in 2020, after the NDIS indicated the greatest level of need and demand to be on the Northern Beaches. They received 30 applications for just five villas.

Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski, who is currently chairing a federal inquiry into housing affordability and was given a guided tour of Lilly Pilly at the unveiling, said he was a strong supporter of the new style of accommodation being offered to people with disabilities.

Jason Falinski

Jason Falinski

“The Australian dream is predicated on homeownership because it is fundamental to our well-being, our freedom and our certainty. Innovative developments like Lilly Pilly are providing an opportunity for more people to live that dream. It has an immeasurable impact on improving one’s quality of life.

“We need more diversity in our housing mix like what is being provided here by Lilly Pilly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches so more people are supported in a community where that brings out the best in themselves,” said Mr Falinski.

The architecturally designed properties aim to be aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. They feature sustainable materials and are powered by smart technology, using both voice and touch activation.

Mr Graiche described Lilly Pilly as the ‘peak’ of innovation, designed to ensure residents have their own private sanctuaries while also being able to engage with one another. The carer’s room is situated to promote a sense of independence among tenants.

Residents have been given an option of securing ergonomic furniture and appliances, chosen by an interior designer, allowing them to make a fresh start in their new accommodation.

“We feel it is important because it enhances the tenant experience and produces that good feeling that we are after,” said Mr Graiche.

Lilly Pilly is located at McIntosh Road, Dee Why, and is available to adults aged 18 to 64 years living with a disability. Tenants will pay a rent contribution, coupled with their NDIS administered SDA subsidy. The financial backing for the project came from the Synergis Fund, which is a scalable investment fund focused on transforming disability housing in Australia.

Images: Good Housing

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