HOUSING CRISIS: Shortage puts pressure on most vulnerable
SINCE the inception of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, there has been an increased demand for specialised disability housing, not just on the Fraser Coast but nationwide.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland Fraser Coast chairman Damian Raxach said the latest figures from March revealed the Fraser Coast had one of the tightest rental vacancy rates in the state, sitting at 1.1 per cent.
"There are less properties on the market full stop, and there are less houses available with the specific requirements that a person living with a disability might need," he said.
Hervey Bay man Peter Ayoub lives independently and requires specific features in his home to help with issues related to his cerebral palsy.
He said it was difficult to find something to suit his needs at an affordable price.
"I would eventually love to own my own home," Mr Ayoub said.
"Rentals have been a really big struggle for me, to find suitable accommodation and a cheaper rate.
"Where I am living now is in a unit on the very top floor with no lifts and there are a fair few things which aren't that safe for me but it's the best we could find at the time. We had to try very hard to find a place, particularly with the low vacancy rate.
"For my health I need a proper shower, I need air-conditioning because I can't control my body temperature. It's very hard."
Fraser Coast disability support service Choice Passion Life regional manager Bob Mills explained the increase in demand for specialised housing was because people now had more control over their choices and how they lived their lives.
"For people with a disability, it is about finding the balance between independence and high-quality support, on top of the accommodation suitability and associated costs," he said.
"Housing is a very individual choice, which is why specialist disability accommodation should be tailored to a person's care needs but also their goals."
Mr Mills said despite the increase in demand, there was still a shortfall in available housing - not just in this region, but across Australia.
"We are hopeful that the gap between demand and supply will decrease in the coming years though, as developers take advantage of provisions in the NDIS to build specialist accommodation," he said.