Pacific Link to manage innovative housing for disabled young people

From left: Jennifer Freund and Fiona Rossendell from Pacifi c Link Housing with Summer Foundation CEO, Dr Di Winkler, Lori Kontogiannis from Pacifi c Link, and Summer Foundation tenant Tania LewisFrom left: Jennifer Freund and Fiona Rossendell from Pacifi c Link Housing with Summer Foundation CEO, Dr Di Winkler, Lori Kontogiannis from Pacifi c Link, and Summer Foundation tenant Tania Lewis

Gosford based Pacific Link Housing has won a contract to provide asset management services to the Summer Foundation, a not for profit agency working on innovative housing models to suit young people with disability now trapped in nursing homes because there is nowhere else for them to go.

The Summer Foundation has developed two demonstration projects to show how housing suitable for people with disability Can be included in commercial residential projects. The first, in Melbourne, includes six fully accessible apartments in a 59 unit apartment building.

Now Pacific Link Housing has won a key contract for a second, larger project, in the Hunter, where Summer Foundation has designed 10 fully accessible apartments peppered through a new 110 unit apartment complex. Known as the Hunter Housing Demonstration project, it also includes two additional apartments that will be open for six months to allow government, developers, builders and others with an interest in best practice disability design, to review design innovation and experience the smart home technology used in these projects.

“The Summer Foundation has ceaselessly advocated for the rights of young people trapped in nursing homes and other institutions,” said Pacific Link chairman, Mr David Bacon. “They have given them a voice and supported them by creating housing and support models that can be replicated and scaled up across Australia to meet their needs, making it possible for them to lead meaningful lives as independent members of our communities,” he continued. Pacific Link CEO, Mr Keith Gavin, said the whole project is a remarkable achievement.

“Not only will it make a major contribution to the design of future living for people with disability, but it comes at a time when the roll-out of the NDIS makes funding for new housing models available to turn conceptual housing into mainstream models for the future. “Designing apartments for people who are often confined to large, motorised wheelchairs, is no easy task, but the Summer Foundation has proved it can be done, and at a reasonable cost. “Their research has been extremely strong.” They have collaborated with others across the board. “They are client focused and forward thinking. “They began by putting their ideas into practice, went on to establish best practice, and are now setting future standards that will again advance best practice,” he said. “We are delighted to be part of the team working with the Summer Foundation on this project.

“It will enhance our own understanding of the disability housing sector and enhance our ability to collaborate on future projects,” he concluded. Summer Foundation CEO, Dr Di Winkler, founded the organisation in 2006 after working with young people in the sector and being moved to action by their plight. “Young people living with disability in nursing homes are one of the most marginalised and isolated groups in our society,” Dr Winkler said. “More than half receive a visit from a friend less than once a year.”

They lead impoverished lives. “For decades, they have been forgotten, ignored and left without any future hope of change,” Dr Winkler said. Under their contract, Pacific Link Housing will work alongside Summer Foundation’s team of project specialists to provide community housing management, liaison and support services. Where appropriate, Pacific Link will also work with Summer Foundation to provide additional support and quality of life programs to residents. This will give residents access to Pacific Link’s range of award-winning tenant programs focused on providing new opportunities, increased community participation and support for life-long education to help tenants reach their personal goals.

Media release, Jul 29, 2016 Pacific Link Housing Media