Encouraging builders to create homes accessible for everybody is one way a new Border working party may tackle the widespread lack of appropriate housing for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants.
The working party, which aims to meet for the first time next month, arose out of a community consultation last week attended by more than 50 people, including those with a disability, family members, allied health professionals and project builders.
One of the organisers Jan Gouma said the forum attracted tremendous interest from a diverse range of people who learned more about housing options available.
"There's so much room under the NDIS to look at innovative approaches for further delivery for people with a disability to live in their own accommodation," she said.
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Beechworth-based consultant Dean Bright, who presented a scoping document about housing for people with a disability in Albury-Wodonga, said more participants continued to join the NDIS seeking accommodation suited to their individual needs.
"Because of that, there's got to be more stock and currently at the moment there's a real paucity of it in the local area," he said.
"You could say the same across the whole of Australia, really, it's taking a while for the sector to pick up the fact that housing stock is one of the significant barriers to people finding better options for them."
Charles Sturt University lecturer in occupational therapy Trina Phuah discussed the concept of universal design - making products and environments usable by all people to the greatest extent possible - at the forum.
Mr Bright said finding a wheelchair-accessible home in Albury through social housing, private rentals or newly built properties was difficult and making modifications could be expensive.
'What we're proposing is that we get in early, when we're talking to building developers and project managers," he said.
"It should be as accessible for somebody who has mobility issues as much as it is accessible for somebody who doesn't have a disability.
"Larger bathrooms with turning spaces, no shower hobs, lower benches possibly in some instances, even lower doorknobs."
The consultant said present construction codes did not insist builders take responsibility for universal design.
"There's no standards that say you must make a house that's accessible for everybody," he said.
"The whole idea of the forum was to raise awareness around that and it was really good because there actually were some project builders and developers there."
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