Age UK and housing association Habinteg have launched a joint campaign for new homes to be built with higher accessibility standards to enable people to stay independent for longer.
Currently, only 7% of existing housing stock in the UK meet basic accessibility standards, according to the English Housing Survey.
This is despite the fact that there are currently 6.5 million people with mobility problems and 13.9 million disabled people in the country.
Recent research by Habinteg also found that less than a quarter of homes built outside London by 2030 will be suitable for older and disabled people.
Concerned by these statistics, Age UK and Habinteg have released a campaigning factsheet entitled ‘Home Truths – rebutting the 10 myths about building accessible housing’.
The factsheet challenges the presumptions that delivering accessible housing is too costly, too difficult or simply undesirable for buyers.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “A well designed home can work across a whole lifetime or for any generation, so it just makes common sense to make sure that all new homes are accessible, flexible and adaptable regardless of whether they are initially built for first time buyers.
“If not we’re creating swathes of housing stock that won’t be appropriate for a big part of the population. We know there are huge benefits to people being able to stay in their own home as they get older – and if we make it harder for people to do this then it will have a detrimental impact on people’s health and wellbeing as well as a financial impact in the terms of the costs to the NHS.”
Last Month, Theresa May committed to a consultation that could deliver up to 300,000 new accessible and adaptable homes.
The campaign partners are now calling on the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to follow this through as a priority.
Sheron Carter, Habinteg CEO said: “As a provider of accessible and inclusive housing for almost 50 years, Habinteg knows how big a difference it can make for older and disabled people to have a home that really suits their needs. An adaptable home and environment allows people to maintain connections with family and friends and stay active in their local community.
“It’s so important that we challenge misconceptions about accessible homes. They are just ordinary homes with accessible and adaptable features. Just a bit of thoughtfulness in design makes a huge difference. We hope that this Home Truths myth buster will be a useful tool for everyone who wants to push for homes that are good for every generation.”