Housing and disabled people - Britain's hidden crisis: an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Friday 22 June 2018

“I have not been outside since 2011 except for essential hospital stays. My flat is on the second floor with no lift; it is not wheelchair accessible, and although I have and need a power wheelchair, I cannot even use it indoors as the flat is not adapted……” 

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I have not been outside since 2011 except for essential hospital stays. My flat is on the second floor with no lift; it is not wheelchair accessible, and although I have and need a power wheelchair, I cannot even use it indoors as the flat is not adapted……” (one of the responses to the Commission’s call for evidence)

The Commission published its report in May. Its findings are based on evidence from disabled people, disabled people’s organisations, housing providers, a survey of occupational therapists and it also draws on published research and official statistics.

The report provides an analysis of how planning policy and building regulations standards need to change in order to tackle the chronic shortage of accessible homes. It identifies the reasons why local authorities take so long to administer disability facilities grants and to do disability adaptations, and what needs to be done about this. It looks at how local authority housing allocations schemes operate in practice for disabled people and the complex process of matching people to properties. It considers the benefits to disabled people of tenancy support services and housing advice and the lack of it since advice “deserts” resulting from the 2013 legal aid changes.

Arising out of its detailed look at these issues, it makes a number of specific recommendations (such as making M4(2) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010 a mandatory minimum standard for new housing, and mandatory planning guidance).

It calls for governments to introduce a national strategy to ensure that there is an adequate supply of new houses built to inclusive design standards and to wheelchair-accessible standards.

The report presents a powerful case for such a national strategy.

See also: Housing and disabled people: Britain's hidden crisis on Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

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