Have you ever looked around at your home and thought I really hate living here not because of the decor or the area that you live, but because you’re stuck in one room unable to access any of the other rooms in your home. This one room acts as your living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.
For Accessible Homes week 14th – 18th September
Disabled people like myself and their families have been living in unsuitable homes or forced to live in care homes due to the lack of enough accessible housing available to live in. Back in 2018, I wrote about how the new ‘housing crisis’ that was being reported. Yet this wasn’t a new concept to the disabled Community we have been fighting the Government and councils for years screaming that there has been an issue way before it was being reported.
Safely in and out of your home is the simplest thing most take for granted, yet disabled people are living in a home that’s not designed for anyone with disability needs, how are we still living in a world that access to your own home is a problem, I’m lucky enough to have a home Provide by Habinteg that’s my forever home it’s made a huge difference in my life where I’m able to have my independence but with the population ages and rates of disability on the increase, less than a quarter of homes built outside of London by 2030 will be suitable for older and disabled people.
In July of this year, I met virtually with Housing Minister, Rt. Hon Chris Pincher MP, to discuss the lack of accessible housing in the UK. Alongside Habinteg’s CEO, Sheron Carter, Director of Strategy and External Affairs, Nic Bungay and Anna Dixon, CEO of Centre for Ageing Better representing the Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition. The meeting was convened by Liz Twist MP
Sharing my first-hand experience of living in an unaccessible and accessible home I urged the Minister to launch the public consultation on accessible housing standards that was promised by Theresa May before she left her post at number 10 more than one year ago. This is after an Insight Report was published by Habinteg last year revealed just 1% of homes to be built outside London by 2030 are set to be wheelchair accessible properties. The Minister also mentioned that the disability strategy being led by the cabinet office, will include accessible housing.
On 8th September Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing announce the consultation document and plans to make all new homes meet ‘lifetime’ standards the housing ministry is asking for industry views on changing building regulations to ensure all developments must meet the “category 2” standard for accessibility – broadly equivalent to the old “Lifetime Homes” standard.
Those whose homes do meet their accessibility needs have reported improved health and wellbeing. However, an accessible home is not only beneficial to the people living in it. Just having the right adaptations to the home can create significant savings to the public purse, reducing social care costs for local authorities and health costs for the NHS as the number of accidents at home will significantly reduce.
It’s not a luxury to live in a suitable home and I believe everyone, old and young, disabled and non-disabled, deserves to have somewhere to live where they can feel at home. Being a disabled person means you’ll constantly face mental and physical challenges so why not make the few changes to new builds that make it easier for people and families with a disability.
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