Why Is There A Shortage Of Accessible Housing In The UK?
Although there is a clear need or accessible housing in the UK, it seems that there is a very real shortage in this regard, with recent figures from Habinteg revealing that 400,000 wheelchair users in England alone currently live in unsuitable accommodation.
According to the BBC, part of the problem is that there is no nationwide commitment to building wheelchair accessible properties for disabled people to live in as standard. Instead, it’s left up to local councils to set accessibility targets, but the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that just five per cent of authorities require developers to construct housing suitable for wheelchairs.
In London, however, ten per cent of new builds have needed to be either adaptable or accessible since 2004 and disability groups are now calling for this to be turned into a national standard.
Disability charity Scope said the organisation regularly hears from disabled people who can’t find suitable accommodation, adding: “Something desperately needs to change. Government and local authorities need to step up and ensure affordable and appropriate housing is available to everyone.”
Home adaptations include everything from fitting stairlifts or bannisters to the stairs, installing easy access baths and grab rails to widening doorways, lowering kitchen worktops, installing outdoor ramps or step rails and so on.
It could be useful to seek advice from an occupational therapist when considering making changes so an assessment can be carried out and the appropriate solutions identified. This can potentially be provided by your local authority – and you may be eligible for funding to help cover the costs, as well.