Housing crisis ‘severely limiting disabled people’s independence'

By agency reporter
June 18, 2018

Difficulty finding accessible homes is leaving some disabled people with mobility problems unable to leave the house independently and damaging their mental health, according to research by the Leonard Cheshire charity. 

The research follows a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last month, which revealed 365,000 disabled people lived in homes not suitable for their needs. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/25857)

Two in three (68 per cent) disabled adults with a reported mobility impairment said they did not have a bathroom large enough to fit a wheelchair in their home. Around half (51 per cent) of the same group say they do not have a kitchen large enough to move around in a wheelchair.

More than seven in ten (73 per cent) disabled adults in the same group said they did not have light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls that could be operated from a sitting position. 

Four in ten (41 per cent) disabled adults with mobility impairments who have experienced difficulty finding accessible homes, said this has had a negative impact on their physical and mental health in equal measure. 

The charity said the figures show how much change was needed, with little change in the findings since similar research was undertaken in 2014.

Neil Heslop, CEO of Leonard Cheshire, said: "Nobody should be made to feel trapped and hopeless within their own home. 

"Disabled people have been largely forgotten in the housing priorities of local and national government.

"This must change given the dire consequences this is clearly having on people’s lives. Often only relatively small adaptations can make a huge difference. 

"Government and local authorities must wake up to the housing crisis disabled people are facing, and ensure there is proper provision of homes that meet their needs."

* Leonard Cheshire Disability https://www.leonardcheshire.org/

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