The Centre for Ageing Better and Habinteg have called for government action over the number of disabled and older people living in unsuitable and inaccessible homes.
The joint call comes after new figures from the English Housing Survey show that 53% of households (one million) do not have the adaptations they need – up from 45% (864,000) in 2014-15. Additionally, a third (33%) of households that need adaptations say their home is unsuitable and they want to move.
Experts say the pandemic has exacerbated the impact of unsuitable, inaccessible and poor-quality homes for those forced to stay indoors, many of whom continue to have to shield.
The most common adaptation needed inside the home is hand or grab rails in the kitchen or bathroom, stair rails, and shower seats and aids. For those who said they needed adaptations, almost one in five households (18%) said they could not afford to make the changes they needed. But with support, these adaptations are easy and inexpensive to install.
Emily Andrews, Deputy Director of Evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have seen older and disabled people trapped in homes that don’t meet their needs – and unfortunately despite Monday’s easing of restrictions, many clinically extremely vulnerable people will continue to spend most of their time at home.
“With an increasing number of people living in homes that don’t meet their needs, it has never been more urgent for the government to take action.
“Too much of England’s housing stock is poor-quality and inaccessible. We need to get our existing homes up to scratch, and ensure that all new homes are built to higher standards and able to meet the changing needs of the population.
“As the Government prepares to publish its disability strategy, it must include concrete action on building suitable homes to meet the needs of older and disabled people so no-one is left trapped in a home that doesn’t meet their needs.”