Supporting Independent Living Co-operative

Established in 2015, this co-operative assists the families of people with disabilities create positive home environments.

Interview by BCCM
Photography by SILC

Established in 2015 as a hub to support families develop their own independent housing models under the NDIS, Supporting Independent Living Co-operative (SILC)  assists the families of people with disabilities create positive home environments. The aim of SILC is to support NDIS participants and their family members to form and operate small family-governed supported independent living (SIL) homes. SILC is a registered NDIS provider and supports 12 SIL funded homes in Sydney.

SILC started with just one home that formed as a co-operative in 2010. Parent Assisted Residential Accommodation (PaRA) allowed the families, housemates and workers to become the active members in decision-making around the house. The member need for PaRA was the families of three young men wanted to establish an alternative to existing group home accommodation models that they felt were more institutional. These families wanted to be involved in supporting their children, at the same time establishing a new delivery model that promoted independence and choice as the norm. PaRA received start-up block funding from the NSW Government prior to later transitioning to the NDIS with one-off funding from the Commonwealth Sector Development Fund. The founders of PaRA established SILC as a successful enterprise co-operative providing opportunities for nine other groups of families to set up similar houses.

The enterprise co-operative model, where the members are other enterprises, has great potential in thin markets. Enterprise co-operatives like SILC provide a backbone and hub of services to help the members defray the compliance and establishment costs without losing their autonomy and local decision-making.

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