OVER 17,000 wheelchair users in Scotland have real difficulty getting into their home, according to a major new research report.
The report, ‘Mind the step: An estimation of housing need among wheelchair users in Scotland’, estimates that there are 119,800 wheelchair users in Scotland (5.1 per cent of all households).
Of these, one in four wheelchair users say their home is not suitable for their needs. It also presents a national estimate of 17,042 wheelchair user households in significant housing need (14.2 per cent of all wheelchair user households).
Written by Horizon Housing Association, Habinteg Housing Association, and Craigforth Consultancy, with support from the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland and Link Group Ltd, the report highlights the diversity of circumstances of wheelchair users and makes recommendations for more effective and efficient allocation, adaptation and design of housing for wheelchair users. It suggests how local authorities can better assess the scale of housing need among wheelchair users in their area.
The report suggests that the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme must produce a greater number of new homes suitable for wheelchair users, and that a greater focus on adapting existing homes is also part of the solution.
Horizon Housing Association is a leading provider of accessible and affordable housing and services that enable people to live full independent lives in the community of their choice. Managing director, Julia Fitzpatrick, said: “Horizon wants to see fully accessible and adaptable homes included in all new housing developments as a matter of course.
“Families with disabled children need extra space, young disabled adults are looking to leave home like their peers and good home adaptations can make it possible for many older people to retain their health and independence.
“Disabled people have the right to be involved in community and social life, education or employment and a well-designed and manageable home is the cornerstone.”
Jim Strang, member of the CIH’s UK Board, said: “When things get tight, there’s always a risk that any housing which costs more than the average to build will be pushed to the side as we’re urged to build as many homes as possible for the least amount of money.
“The shortfall identified by this report is not something that can be ignored. There are times when something won’t change unless there’s a concerted effort to make it change, and this is just such an example.”
Contact: Alison Spence