Today is our #ForAccessibleHomes campaign day. We've been delighted with the response to the campaign so far and today promises to be filled with great personal stories of the impact that living in a home that meets your accessibility needs can have.
We’re hoping to make a big impression to raise the profile of the issue across the UK. We’ve collaborated with strong advocates from a wide range of sectors and our tenants have been getting involved in a variety of ways, emphasising the case for inclusion in housing policy.
And that, simply, is what the campaign is all about. Inclusion and housing built to a quality access standard that meets needs and demand.
We know that just 6% of the housing stock in England has basic access features. We know that too many disabled and older people are living in unsuitable housing, with associated impacts on their ability to live independently and associated costs to health and social care services. We know that inclusive, accessible homes are great for everyone, allowing us to use our homes throughout our whole lives as our needs change; whether our main concern is getting a sofa delivered, bringing buggies and shopping through the front door, having elderly relatives to visit or safely recuperating from a hospital visit.
And we know that government, local authorities, planners, developers and communities all have their part to play to address the shortage of accessible housing and tackle the challenge posed by our ageing population in the long-term.
Today is about everyone with an interest raising their voice to say 'I'm for accessible homes'. It's also about making that case to people who haven't previously considered the importance of inclusivity and influencing those with power to make decisions on the future direction of housing policy.
You may have seen our joint letter in The Guardian with a range of influential organisations committed to accessible housing. Or seen our social media Thunderclap, distributed by over 100 individuals and stakeholders.
Whether you send a tweet, have a conversation with your friends or write to your MP – ‘For Accessible Homes’ is your chance to have your say! The debate will go on and it is far more effective to do this with a broad coalition of support. Our best advocates are people directly affected by the need for accessible housing. So please do get involved today and in the future.
There are lots of resources here on our website to help inform the debate and the Twitter hashtag #ForAccessibleHomes has already been a great source of discussion and involvement. I'm sure that will be the case today. Our tenants and staff up and down the country have been busy taking photos and explaining their support for the message. We'll have those on Twitter and the website through the day.
I wanted to end by saying a big thank you to everyone involved in making this campaign a success and stimulating such a good debate. There are too many to thank individually here but let's carry on the good work and make a future for accessible and inclusive housing the key issue it should be.
Find out more about getting involved in #ForAccessibleHomes here: http://www.habinteg.org.uk/foraccessiblehomes