I ran out of tea the other day, and until I can get more, I'm drinking coffee. I'm making do. That's what making do is: a temporary state of doing what you can when things being different to how you would choose until you can get back to a different situation. The key word is temporary.
Making do isn’t fun
We're out of accessible housing. The total amount of accessible housing we have available per person who needs to live in accessible housing is negative.
This negative number is growing - we have a bigger shortage every year. So far, most local authorities are doing nothing about it. We're not on our way to a different situation.
I've made do before. It's no fun. This summer, I redecorated my bedroom and slept in the living room for a bit. When travelling, I often make do in a hotel room I can only just turn my wheelchair around in. I've forgotten to pack things, and found a make do solution. Broke something at home? Duct tape is my answer to everything. I love duct tape.
But these are solutions to situations that last a few days. There's very little consequences attached.
Consequences of inaccessible housing
Expecting someone to make do with inaccessible housing has consequences. If you can’t move around your home safely, serious injuries can happen.
If you can’t leave your home quickly, you can’t escape danger. If you don’t have room for equipment and furniture needed to rest, stretch, and take care of your body, you’ll be exhausted, and in pain. If you can’t find a safe place to live, you might find it harder to leave someone you need to live apart from.*
This is the reality for more than a million disabled people, and will be a reality for millions of others as they age. Unless something changes now, making do with be permanent, not temporary.
These consequences are avoidable, if we act quickly.
Make a change, don’t make do
Every architect, developer, landlord, estate agent and local authority can act to change this. There isn't enough accessible housing - better get some in stock.
The other person who can change this is reading this webpage - it's you.
Talk to people about the house you live in, and if it's ready for you to live your whole life in. Ask your council on social media what they're doing #ForAccessibleHomes.
Finally, anyone else tired of waiting for the government to respond to last year's accessible housing consultation? One line added to planning guidance could move us from “making do” to “getting it done”.
*If you are living with someone who is harming or controlling you physically, emotionally, or in any other way, check out the links below for help and advice. If you’re in immediate danger, call 999.