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Lockdown tougher for disabled people due to inaccessible homes says YouGov poll

New research published today (Tuesday 15 September 2020) has found that inaccessible housing made lockdown significantly harder for many disabled UK adults.

A YouGov poll commissioned by housing association Habinteg revealed that of those disabled people* surveyed, their wellbeing during lockdown was three times more likely to have been damaged by lack of access in the home (21% v 6%) when compared to non-disabled people.

Meanwhile, over two in five were unable to fully use their bathroom or kitchen without assistance (22% v 23%).

The poll - which marks the start of Habinteg’s annual #ForAccessibleHomes week - also found that the disabled respondents surveyed were 17 times more likely than non-disabled people to be unable to carry out all daily tasks and activities at home without assistance during lockdown (35% v 2%). 

Download the YouGov Poll key findingsThese findings come as the Government has launched its public consultation on making all new homes more accessible for older and disabled people.

Read the full YouGov Poll key findings.

The survey also identified that:

  • Disabled respondents were 23 times more likely than non-disabled people to not be able to use all parts of their kitchen without assistance during lockdown. (23% / 1%)
  • Disabled respondents were 22 times more likely than non-disabled people to not be able to use all parts of their bathroom without assistance during lockdown. (22% / 1%)
  • Almost one in four disabled people (24%) do not have a home that meets their access needs.


Amy Jonson, who lives in an inaccessible home with her disabled son, added:

My property doesn’t have many accessible features, which means I’m usually left carrying my son around the home and in and out the bath tub; he’s nearly nine so as you can imagine, this is not an easy task. When lockdown began, I was the sole carer for my son 24 hours a day due to the school closures. This meant I had to do more lifting than I was used to. It really highlighted just how bad our house is for my son’s health (and mine) and it cannot be a long term solution if he is to ever be independent. Habinteg’s findings prove that my situation isn’t a rare one. Many disabled people up and down the country have had to make do in homes that just aren’t suitable for them. We really need this to change.


Habinteg’s CEO, Sheron Carter, says:

Lockdown was challenging for most people, but this data shows that for far too many disabled people the challenges were significantly worse because of access issues within their home. For far too long disabled and older people have been expected to ‘make do’, and put up with being unable to carry out the basics of daily living with any degree of independence.

We really must do better to meet the housing needs of our whole community.

Last week the Government launched its consultation on the accessibility of all new homes – a step that Habinteg has long been calling for. We’ll be campaigning hard to secure concrete change in the accessibility expected of all new homes. In the meantime, we need the Government support local authorities to redouble their efforts to provide aids and adaptations to improve people’s independence at home, especially with the possibility of further social restrictions on the horizon.

Disabled and older people deserve better than ‘making do’.


Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in July 2020 showed that just 9% of homes in England offer even the most basic access features to be considered ‘visitable’ by a range of people including disabled people. It also showed that there are at least 400,000 disabled adults living in homes that are neither accessible nor adapted**.

From 14-18 September 2020, Habinteg run its fifth #ForAccessibleHomes week, campaigning for an increase in accessible homes and highlighting the positive impact they can bring to individuals, families and the community. Find out more at www.habinteg/FAH.

Ends.

Notes to editor

* For the purposes of this news release we use the term disabled people to refer to the group of UK Adults who identify themselves as ‘limited a lot’ in their day to day activities due to a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months

** based on the number of wheelchair users with accessible homes and subtracting from total amount of wheelchair users in England

About the research:

  • The YouGov poll was conducted among 4,237 UK adults, asking them to consider how the design of their home had impacted on their lockdown experience.
  • Respondents were invited to identify their level of disability and to express their level of agreement with a series of statements about their experiences during Covid-19 Lockdown.
  • A disabled person is someone whose day-day activities are limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months. Respondent rates were:
    •  3046 Non- disabled
    • 762 Limited a little due to health problem or disability
    • 401 Limited a lot due to health problem or disability
    • 28 Not complete


The survey found:

  • 21% of UK adults who said they are limited a lot by their impairment reported that the inaccessibility of their home undermined their wellbeing during lockdown compared to 6% of non-disabled UK adults
  • 35% of UK adults who are limited a lot by their impairment disagreed with the statement ‘I was able to carry out all daily tasks and activities in my home with full independence’ compared to 2% disagreement among non-disabled respondents
  • 23% of UK adults who are limited a lot by their impairment disagreed with statement ‘I was able to us all parts of kitchen without assistance’ compared to 1% disagreement among non-disabled respondents.
  • 22% of UK adults who are limited a lot by their impairment disagreed with statement ‘I was able to use all parts of my bathroom without assistance’
  • 64% of UK adults who identified as being limited a lot by their impairment were able to use all parts of their kitchen and bathroom without assistance compared to 96% of non-disabled respondents
  • 24% of UK adults who said they are limited a lot by their impairment disagreed with the statement ‘my home fully meets all of my access needs’.
     

About Habinteg

Habinteg is a leading national provider of affordable accessible homes and support services. We champion inclusion by providing sustainable neighborhoods of Lifetime Homes and wheelchair standard properties for disabled and non-disabled people to share and enjoy. We use our expertise to challenge negative social attitudes, promote the rights of disabled people and improve accessibility standards within housing.

Since 1970, our thoughtful designs and on-site support have enabled tenants to achieve and sustain independent living. Habinteg has over 3,300 homes across 86 local authorities. One in three of our properties are designed specifically for wheelchair users, and the majority of the remaining homes have been built to an accessible or Lifetime Homes Standard.

About #ForAccessibleHomes week

Habinteg’s #ForAccessibleHomes campaign has been running annually since 2016. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the lack of accessible homes in the UK. Habinteg decided to focus on the positive impact that accessible and adaptable homes have on the lives of the people who live in them and on the communities in which they’re built. The week engages disabled people, housing providers and leading voices from around the housing sector. This year's #ForAccessibleHomes week will be taking place Monday 14 to Friday 18 September 2020. You can stay up to date with the content throughout the week by visiting Habinteg’s #ForAccessibleHomes page: https://www.habinteg.org.uk/fah.

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