The majority of homes in England (84%) do not allow someone using a wheelchair to get to and through the front door without difficulty. Only 0.5% of homes are reported to be ‘accessible and adaptable’. This report presents a national estimate of 78,300 wheelchair user households in housing need (13% of all wheelchair user households) and shows how local authorities can produce need estimates for their area.
Around 55% of households with a wheelchair user are owner-occupiers and 45% are tenants. Despite the shortage of suitable homes, the research reveals that housing associations and local authorities allocate only 22% of vacant wheelchair accessible properties to wheelchair users. The figures highlight an inefficient use of resources and a severe limitation to housing opportunities for disabled people.
Habinteg Housing Association, a leading national provider and campaigner for affordable, accessible and inclusive homes and services, has produced this report with London South Bank University to inform policy and housing strategy at local and national level and to make recommendations for more effective and efficient allocation, adaptation and design of housing for wheelchair users.
Lynn Watson, Head of Policy and Practice at Habinteg says,
"Habinteg wants to see fully accessible and adaptable homes included in all new housing developments as a matter of course. Families with disabled children need extra space, young disabled adults are looking to leave home like their peers and good home adaptations can make it possible for many older people to retain their health and independence.
Disabled people have the right to be involved in community and social life, education or employment and a well-designed and manageable home is the cornerstone.”