Today, Habinteg tenant and disability campaigner, Kerry Thompson, met with Housing Minister, Rt. Hon Chris Pincher MP, to discuss the lack of accessible housing in the UK. The meeting was also attended by Habinteg’s CEO, Sheron Carter, its 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, who was also in attendance.
During the meeting, Kerry urged the Minister to launch the public consultation on accessible housing standards: promised by the government more than one year ago. This comes after an Insight Report 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.
Other than his pledge to include accessible housing in the disability strategy, the Housing Minister also agreed to visit Kerry Thompson at her home and venture down to our new accessible properties in Leeds.
Kerry Thompson said: “Today’s meeting was a definite step in the right direction and it was great to meet the Housing Minister. He listened to my story and I could tell that he understood the importance of accessible housing for disabled people. I look forward to seeing what progress comes from the government following the meeting and hope to see the accessible housing standards consultation start very soon.”
Habinteg CEO, Sheron Carter, said: “It was really useful to have Kerry in the meeting as she could share her first-hand experience to highlight the positive impact an accessible home can have. It was good to brief him on the Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition, a group of ten charities and housing organisations that are pushing for improvements in accessible housing policy. I hope this meeting will urge the government to take some serious action on the housing needs for our disabled population.”
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “As Housing Minister, I want to ensure everyone can access a safe, secure place to call home. I was very happy to meet Kerry Thompson and other housing campaigners to learn more about the effect an accessible home has on people’s independence and quality of life. The Government’s helped deliver 280,000 adaptations so older and disabled people can live independently and safely at home, and the proportion of accessible homes has nearly doubled in a decade. I want to go even further, so we’ll be consulting on proposals to make higher accessibility standards mandatory.”
Liz Twist MP, adds: “We really need to do something to ensure there are enough accessible and adaptable homes to meet the needs of our whole community. Everyone deserves a home that they can live in independently and it’s simply not right that many disabled people across the country don’t have this. A suitable home is not a luxury. We’re grateful for the Housing Minister’s time today to discuss this important issue. Now we wait for the date the consultation will begin.”
Chief Executive of The Centre for Ageing Better, Ann Dixon, said: “The Centre for Ageing Better are delighted to be working with Habinteg and other partners in the HoME coalition to urge the government to raise the regulatory standards so all new homes are built to higher accessibility standards. It was encouraging to hear the Minister Chris Pincher confirm that the government would consult on changes to building regulations shortly and his interest in our evidence about the housing needed to meet the needs of a growing number of older households in future.”