The Department for Levelling-Up, Housing Communities has said the accessibility standard for new homes in England will be raised, following a seven-year Habinteg campaign.
This means that all future homes will offer increased accessibility features to everyone in the household, and make it easier to adapt if they need to make some changes as their needs change.
Benefits of accessible homes
Habinteg tenant and Insight Group member, Kerry Thompson, said the announcement will bring welcome changes: "The accessible and adaptable standard will make adaptations more achievable and alleviate pressures on health and social care services and budgets.
"Living in an accessible Habinteg home, I know just how beneficial they can be for a disabled person. For me, it’s the difference between just existing and having a life to live.”
Accessible homes shortage
The need for accessible homes will grow significantly over the next 20 years as the population ages. Currently:
- 1.8 million people in the UK need an accessible home (Habinteg: The Hidden Housing Market)
- Only 9% of homes currently provide the four main features for the lowest level of accessibility – a home that is ‘visitable’ (English Housing Survey )
- Over 400,000 wheelchair users live in homes that are neither adapted nor accessible/visitable (Habinteg)
- 55% of adults without a mobility impairment feel they couldn't remain in their current home if they become disabled due to its design and layout (Habinteg).
The government’s announcement confirmed that a second consultation will take place to decide the details of how the change in standard will be carried out.
Habinteg’s Director of Social Impact & External Affairs, Christina McGill, said: “Raising the mandatory access standard will remove barriers currently limiting the number of accessible and adaptable homes being built and help deliver great quality inclusive housing.”
Join our campaign
Christina added: “An accessible home can have a big impact on the independence and wellbeing of individuals and families and also help make much better use of social care and health service resources.
“We owe huge thanks to everyone who submitted a consultation response and we hope you’ll join us in responding to the next consultation to ensure the higher accessibility standard comes to fruition as soon as possible.”
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