New report on how government and housing developers are failing 300,000 disabled and older people3 December 2014
The government and local councils have come under criticism from the charity, Leonard Cheshire Disability following their report ‘No Place Like Home: 5 million reasons to make housing disabled-friendly’, part of their Home Truths campaign.
The report found that 84 per cent of councils have no information on accessible housing in their local area, and less than 17 per cent of councils with local plans in place have set out proposals to build disabled-friendly housing in 2015.
Based on data from 151 local councils who responded to the charity’s freedom of information requests, the report has estimated that 300,000 disabled people are stuck on housing waiting lists across the UK, in ‘severe discomfort’ caused by inappropriate housing.
Claire Pelham, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability commented that: ‘Councillors need to show some understanding about what this feels like — and take steps to ensure houses in their area are suitable for all the people who live there, including disabled people. And the national government needs to insist that all housing developers make future homes disabled-friendly. It’s the very least they can do as a Christmas present for disabled people’.
The report recommends that 10 per cent of new developments should be fully accessible, and suggests that ‘the top 10 developers could build all new homes to be disabled-friendly and still maintain profits of £1.3 billion a year’.
The Local Government Association commented to the Guardian that: ‘They desperately want to build new homes and do more to support accessible and adaptable homes, but are hampered in work to build new homes by centrally set Treasury restrictions on investment in housing’.
The government have recently made a set of proposals about the future of accessible homes, attempting to bring design standards under regulation for the first time. The leading disability housing specialist Habinteg have raised concerns in their seven point briefingabout the proposals, stating that the changes will still be ‘optional’ meaning that local authorities will still not be under any obligation to plan for them.
This coincides with the Operation Disabled Vote campaign, launched earlier this week which hopes to address issues which affect Deaf and disabled people in the run up to the election, through encouraging more Deaf and disabled people to register to vote.