Habinteg and London South Bank University, supported by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), are producing new research on housing for wheelchair users in England. The report aims to produce a national estimate in the shortfall in wheelchair user homes to encourage government departments and agencies, regional bodies, local authorities and housing providers to prioritise wheelchair user housing and take action in developing effective strategies to increase the supply and availability of accessible homes.
The research aims to:
- Demonstrate the extent of need for homes that are designed to full wheelchair standard or can be easily adapted for residents who are wheelchair users;
- Set out the legislative and policy context for developing more accessible homes;
- Explore the significance of accessible housing in facilitating national strategies relating to inclusive communities, independent living, preventative services and personalisation;
- Produce a national estimate for England of the shortfall in wheelchair user homes;
- Provide a readily applicable method for estimating the shortfall at both regional and local authority level, taking account of specific demographic factors (e.g. age and income profile);
- Make recommendations on ways of reducing the shortfall and meeting priority needs for wheelchair user homes.
The report, due for publication in July 2010, will centre around the analysis of key data relating to wheelchair users provided by the Survey of English Housing as well as Homes and Communities Agency data on new development by housing associations, together with analysis of other datasets, including the CORE data on housing association lettings.
It will highlight the continuing importance of suitably designed housing for wheelchair users, as there is evidence that some policy makers, planners and housing industry professionals see the accessibility principles of the Lifetime Homes Standard as a ‘catch-all’ solution. While Lifetime Homes do offer a high degree of ‘visitability’ and adaptability for wheelchair users, they are not designed to full wheelchair standards and it is vital that the development of wheelchair standard homes continues alongside the growth in Lifetime Homes.
Habinteg has always championed both Lifetime Homes and wheelchair standard housing, with 33% of Habinteg’s housing stock designed specifically for wheelchair users. This project will build on Habinteg’s earlier research into wheelchair user housing, ‘Pathways to Accessible Housing’, published with the Papworth Trust and the Housing Corporation in 2001.
The report will be available in hard copy and can be ordered from July through the Habinteg website or by contacting Communications staff in the Policy and Practice department. Tel: 020 7822 8700.