History

Alex Moira and Edward Heath opening Moira Close, Habinteg's first housing scheme

Habinteg was founded in 1970 by leading figures from the Spastics Society (now known as Scope). From the start, our objective was to provide homes for disabled people that were integrated into mainstream housing schemes. Hence our name, which comes from the Latin phrase habitus integrans, or ‘integrated housing’.  

Black and white image of a disabled couple in their living room in the 1970s

In 1973, the first Habinteg tenants moved into our first accessible housing scheme, Moira Close in Haringey, with Prime Minister Edward Heath performing the opening ceremony. Ahead of its time in many ways, it provided a model for inclusive housing and gave disabled people a completely new opportunity within social housing.  

By 1979, Habinteg had established itself as the leader in its field, with housing schemes across England, from Kent to Middlesbrough and from Peterborough to Liverpool.

Within six years, Habinteg had doubled in size. It completed more than 800 new homes during the 1980s, as it loosened its links with the Spastics Society and became a truly independent housing association.

Another 670 homes were completed in the 1990s, including 172 built for wheelchair users. In 1991, Bert Massie, a Habinteg tenant who was later to chair the Disability Rights Commission, became the first disabled member of our management committee.

Mike Donnelly and Bert Massie campaigning for Lifetime Homes outside the Houses of ParliamentAnother important step during the 1990s was our development of the Lifetime Homes standard - the idea that newly built dwellings should be designed to be easily adaptable for both disabled and non-disabled people to live in them.

Michael Holyer and Bert Massie open Habinteg's new office on Red Lion Court

Today, Habinteg is established across England with a scheme in Wales as well as sister associations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. During 2000, it completed its 2000th home. 

In September 2006, Baroness Chapman of Leeds was appointed Chair of Habinteg's Board of Management. A longstanding Habinteg tenant, disability campaigner and People's Peer, she served as an inspirational leader until her death in September 2009. 

Known as 'Nicky' to her friends and colleagues at Habinteg, Nicky's physical difference was as hard to ignore as her outspoken views.  Nicky openly used her body image to her advantage in her work, challenging perceptions about difference and fighting for equality. With her naturally persuasive wit and passion, Nicky championed social inclusion, accessible design, independent living and services that suit people whatever their needs.

Nicky Chapman in a Habinteg property

As Nicky has demonstrated by her own life, and through her determined engagement on these issues, independent living is possible for almost everyone and householders should no longer have to put up with homes and services that do not support their right to independence.

On 1st March 2010, Livability Housing (LH) transferred into Habinteg Housing Association. The transfer of engagements followed the selection of Habinteg as preferred partner by the Livability Housing Board of Management on 16th May 2009. 

In 2012, Habinteg welcomed accessible environment specialists, the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), as a wholly owned subsidiary. This cements a long working relationship and strengthens Habinteg's inclusive design offer.

In 2016, Habinteg launched the now award winning #ForAccessibleHomes campaign. The campaign puts a human face on the need for more accessible homes, bringing to the fore people's personal stories of having a home that suits their need. With more than 13 million disabled people in the UK and only 7% of homes having even basic accessiblity features, this campaign aims to raise awareness of this issue and effect change on a local and national level. 

Goodrich Court

In November of 2016 we launched our Goodrich Court scheme in Hounslow. The development, which was part funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA), was officially opened by our Vice-Chair Andrew Gibson. The scheme demonstrates the highest standards in inclusively designed affordable housing. It provides 16 homes, of which 12 are built to the Lifetime Homes Standard, designed to enable adaptations to be made at minimal cost – supporting the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of their lives. The other four homes are built to wheelchair standards and are designed to meet the requirements of wheelchair users, with features such as adjustable kitchen counters and wet rooms. This scheme clearly expresses Habinteg’s founding principle – developing places to live where disabled and non-disabled people live as neighbours in integrated communities.

The development is named in memory of Sue Goodrich in recognition of her tireless work in creating better housing opportunities for disabled people. Sue was a champion of independent living and strong advocate of accessible inclusive housing as a Board member at Habinteg and Livability.

Raynville Crescent

In 2018 we opened our Raynville Crescent scheme in Leeds. It provides 11 houses built to the Lifetime Homes Standard and three Wheelchair standard bungalows. Raynville Crescent honours Habinteg Housing Manager and Yorkshireman, the late Graham Hall with one of the streets on the development named "Hall Way". 

We now own more than 3300 homes and have a target to develop 85 new homes a year in our 2018 - 2021 Corporate Plan
 

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