FINDING a suitable place to live can be a challenge at the best of times, especially if you are living with a disability.
Often finding a home with essential facilities such as ramps and support rails can be tough, enter Northcott Innovations new website NEST.
The disability support service launched the new website earlier this month in the hopes of connecting clients, carers and local disability accommodation services by showcasing available spaces.
Northcott Innovation executive director Samantha Frain told The Namoi Valley Independent the new site allowed people to search available properties based on their specific needs.
“NEST puts all of the details about a property right in front of the person to let them choose,” Ms Frain said.
“It gives clients, carers and other people looking for accommodation the freedom to choose a space that fits their specific needs in a location that they find suitable.
“So if for example someone is looking for a property with access ramps in say Gunnedah or Tamworth, they could go to the the website and search for properties that match their criteria.
“In a nutshell it means clients and carers can easily find somewhere with what they need and where they need it.”
Ms Frain said the concept for the website came about as a result from changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“So prior to the introduction of the NDIS anyone looking for government supported disability friendly accommodation was placed on a waiting list which didn’t provide much choice,” she said.
“There was often a lot of people on the list and while the government were doing their best often we were finding that if when a person was offered accommodation that didn’t suit they went to the bottom of the list and began the process again.
“When the NDIS came into effect, the job of finding accommodation came onto providers such as Northcott Innovations and from there it was about finding the best way to help people find accommodation.
“So NEST came about to fill that gap and help connect clients with providers and properties.”
The executive director said the free website will also help local community accommodation providers advertise open spaces and spaces under construction.
“The website really gives clients the chance to have the same experiences when looking for a place to live as everyone else does,” Ms Frain said.
“If what a person is specifically searching for is not available in the location they are after then the site will suggest suitable places nearby.
“It also allows local accommodation groups the chance to advertise any available spaces in share houses or any places that are currently under construction as well, which helps people plan ahead if needed.”
Ms Frain said she was hopeful the site would eventually go national.
“At the moment the site covers the whole state,” she said.
“South Australia is the next state that we will be launching in with the prospect of the site rolling out across Australia in the near future which is very exciting.”
For more information about the accommodation website visit www.gonest.com.au