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“Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”

To mark the UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities this year, Habinteg CEO Sheron Carter reflects on joining our organisation at such an important time.

I am delighted to be joining an organisation with such a unique social purpose, so it seems fitting that I start at Habinteg in the week of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

It is a good time of year to look to the future and this year’s IDPD theme of “transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” is a timely reminder of this. As an accessible housing provider and campaigning organisation, this theme is central to Habinteg’s values and underpins so much of the work that we do.

As someone with over 30 years’ experience in the housing sector and a history of working with BAME charities, I am excited to be working for an organisation which has equality and inclusion at its core. An understanding of the impact of factors such as disability, race, gender, age and sexual orientation on housing requirements is crucially important, particularly in social housing.

Thanks to tenant’s stories and the expertise of our staff, I am beginning to understand the impact of having an accessible home on people’s lives more deeply. It’s clear to me that there is a strong business case for accessible, adaptable homes, as Habinteg and Papworth Trust research demonstrates that there is a market for accessible housing across tenure.

What’s more, homes with accessible and adaptable features can have positive benefits on health and social care outcomes, as adaptations are cheaper and easier to deliver – saving money for both the Government and for individuals. People are also able to leave hospital faster if their home can be easily adapted to suit various requirements, which reduces delayed discharge. These outcomes are particularly important considering our ageing population, therefore we need homes which are built to be futureproof and cater to changing requirements.

Since joining Habinteg, I have heard from tenants first-hand about the huge social impact of accessible homes. We know from their experiences that accessible housing improves independence and can increase community participation. Accessible homes also improve access to employment and higher education, which can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing for many disabled people.

I am excited to be supporting Habinteg’s vital work in this area and am looking forward to continuing our important influencing work and campaigning for more accessible homes. Housing and infrastructure needs to be reflective of the diversity of our population in order to create a society which includes everyone and I am pleased to be part of an organisation striving to make this a reality.