by Nirvana
A Business for Social Change
Cost Effective New Housing for the Elderly & Persons With Disabilites
How can I find disabled accommodation?

How can I find disabled accommodation?

Finding accommodation for those living with a disability can be difficult. Disability is defined under the Equality Act 2010 as having a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. Unfortunately, when it comes to housing, the current statistics show a broad gap between those with a disability and those without.

People with a disability are three times as likely to rent social housing. In fact, social housing residents make up a quarter of the disabled population. It’s shown too that they’re over 10% less likely to own their own home. Private rented accommodation is made difficult, considering adaptations may have to be carried out at the landlord’s expense.

It’s in such a situation that those with a disability may turn to their local authority. Specialist support or accommodation is considered upon completion of a needs assessment form. General-purpose housing may then be allocated or specialist housing could be offered, such as wheelchair-friendly properties or buildings tailored for those with mobility issues. Sheltered housing exists but is largely aimed at older persons. Even considering all this, purpose-built property is not common, and the application process can be lengthy.

To use the example of a physical disability, 1 in 6 of the UK population have a disability, yet only 9% of UK homes provide accessible features, affecting the lives of over 1.2 million wheelchair users. Mencap also found that supported living property is more expensive, with residents paying 30% more on rent and service charge. Although independent living for those with a disability is a protected right, 400,000 wheelchair users in England alone are living in homes not adapted for their needs. This can have a negative financial effect, such as having to purchase a stairlift or pay to widen doorways. Considering that adapting a typical home costs up to five times more than making one adaptable at the design stage, this further hampers those with access needs. Studies have shown too that unadapted homes can increase mobility problems and feelings of social isolation. Such a resident is also four times less likely to be in work so having available finances to make changes can be an obstacle.

The impact doesn’t stop at the individual - it also impacts friends and family. Some people have reported having to be carried up the stairs by relatives, or having to sleep in a living room. Even if such adaptations are granted by local authorities, the average waiting time is 22 weeks. In such an example of a child with autism requiring their own bedroom, the delay can cause a family or individual unimaginable strain.

Even though the government is now vowing to improve these numbers, it’s still not a legal requirement to build a minimum number of accessible homes. It’s therefore no surprise that only a quarter of local authorities set a target for accessible housing. Thus, the responsibility is passed on to developers who are not keen to voluntarily incur the extra cost and expense. For now, the living situation of those with a disability has reached a difficult point and it is harder than ever to find traditional accommodation and housing with a registered disability.