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Hostel style accommodation may no longer be fit for purposes.  Could the NDIS provide the solution? 

Many current RACs had their origins in the earlier times of State-regulated hostel accommodation.  Shared rooms and bathrooms were the norms back then.  Hostels have since been refurbished, expanded, modernised and potentially also repurposed to aged care for some other purpose, but may now no longer be fit for purpose. 

Compliance with the new Aged Care Quality Standards may render formerly shared rooms suitable for one consumer only.  Further, shared bathrooms may not meet the market demands of most modern consumers and common shared space needs to be lounge style, spacious and relaxed. 

Some providers (not necessarily former hostels) have already been sanctioned and effectively rendered no longer fit for purpose for residential aged care and shut down.  These times are indeed very stressful for providers, many with a decades-long history with the property and sector. 

The NDIS may provide a lifeline to repurpose the home (in full or in part) as accommodation for supported independent living or other NDIS participants.  Current accommodation needs to be inspected and assessed for this purpose, as does the availability of participants.  However, with 5,000 Young Persons In Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) already and NDIS policy being to move them into NDIS purposed accommodation, your former hostel may already have a ready market to repurpose it for. 

Repurposing hostel styled Residential Care properties for the NDIS

Approved Provider status

  1. RACs with existing YPIRAC NDIS participants were automatically approved for the assisted living support in December 2020
  2. NDIS has multiple other supports a provider may wish to provide to accommodated participants
  3. Review existing participant support needs and readiness for the RAC to provide them e.g., clinical nursing and allied health
  4. Assess other NDIS supports for ability of RAC to provide immediately or in the future
  5. Review systems, operations, staff / management and policies and procedures to determine organisational readiness
  6. Conduct gap analysis and roadmap pathway to organisational readiness
  7. Apply for additional supports

Review Existing Accommodation

  1. Review layout of rooms, bathrooms and common areas / outside space for participant readiness
  2. Review building for ramps and accessibility 
  3. Engage specialist accommodation consultant to advise on remodelling work
  4. Assess NDIS funding for “home modifications” etc or alternatively internal or external sources to fund remodelling work

Market Analysis

  1. Review existing NDIS participant market through available information, LAC and NDIA office
  2. Need to determine size of existing market, and future market, plus timeframe to take up occupancy in order to size the scale of the remodelled hostel operation to NDIS accommodation
  3. Conduct Porters 5 forces analysis on the market in the specific location


  1. Assess management and direct care staff for necessary skillsets and experience for readiness 
  2. Review policies and procedures for compliance and operational readiness
  3. Form relationships with LAC and NDIA office as feeder service for participants 
  4. Conduct review of operations and governance framework for compliance with NDIS Standards
  5. Perform gap analysis on both and develop remediation / compliance plan
  6. Develop and execute recruitment plan
  7. Review staff rosters and skillsets for existing capacity for service delivery
  8. Develop strategy and marketing / media comms to secure clients 


  1. Engage appropriate consultants to design and execute the remodelling works in line with budget (e.g., architect, builder, project manager, fit out specialist, landscape designer etc)


  1. Assess existing system for fitness for purpose
  2. Conduct market assessment of fit for purpose systems following board /exec determination on budget
  3. Training
  4. Implementation


  1. Operations management 
  2. Care staff
  3. Systems


  1. Motor vehicles 
  2. Staff training for taking clients in vehicle
  3. Work cover
  4. Insurance

Ian Hamer

Specialist Consultant – Home Care

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