Today, ITV News broadcast a powerful story in collaboration with Habinteg on the accessible housing crisis and some people who have been affected by it. The story highlights the growing number of disabled people on waiting lists who need accessible homes and focuses on the experiences of Daniel Slade and Naima Alikhan. Both Daniel and Naima have been affected by the lack of accessible homes, but in contrasting ways.
49 year old Daniel only became a wheelchair user two years ago following a heart aneurysm and his experiences as a disabled man are still new to him. After being discharged from hospital, Nottinghamshire council advised Daniel that they couldn’t house him in a wheelchair accessible home because there was simply none available and placed him in a care home instead.
Daniel told ITV: "I was brought here, I didn't want to be in a nursing home. I'm 49-years-old living with 80 and 90-year-olds that are dying on a daily basis. I thought the aneurysm, the recovery from that, the period of time I was in a coma and when I came around - I thought that was bad - and then you get placed in a nursing home. For mental health and for lifestyle, it's a prison cell."
Speaking to ITV News, Habinteg’s CEO, Sheron Carter, said: "There are not enough homes being built for everyone in society. One in five people within our population has a disability and the ageing population is growing, so it's a crisis that is just continuing and continuing to develop unless the government does something about it."
The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government commented: “Every building should be accessible for disabled people and we expect councils to ensure there is sufficient accessible social housing available for local people. We will be consulting shortly on raising minimum standards for accessible housing for all new homes and since 2012 we have invested more than £2.7bn to fund 280,000 adaptations to existing homes."
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: "If there are changes that we need to make to the law to ensure that new homes are being built to meet the standards required so disabled people can have access to them, then absolutely, we’ll do that.”
It’s great to see more light being shed on the accessible housing crisis but we now need to see concrete action and real change. Former Prime Minister, Theresa May, promised a consultation on accessible housing before she stepped down which was further confirmed by Chancellor, Sajid Javid, in the Autumn Spending Round. It is now vital that Boris Johnson starts this consultation as a matter of urgency. Habinteg are ready and willing to work with the new government, as well as all political parties, in driving this through and ensuring the voices of disabled people are heard throughout the process.
For more information, please contact someone from our media team: https://www.habinteg.org.uk/media-contact