A coalition of ten charities and housing organisations is urging the public to back its call for action to tackle the UK’s growing shortage of accessible homes.
The government is now consulting on its long-awaited proposals to raise standards, so that all new homes are built to better meet the needs of current and future generations of older and disabled people.
Individuals and organisations can have their say by responding to the consultation before the deadline of 1 December.
The Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition is calling specifically for the government to raise building standards to make the ‘accessible and adaptable’ design standard the mandatory baseline for all new homes.
It says that building accessible and adaptable homes helps people to increase their independence at home, keep them safer, and delay or avoid unwanted moves to more specialist housing.
However, a recent English Housing Survey found that just 9% of housing stock in England has key accessibility features to deem them ‘visitable’ for an older or disabled person.
Anna Dixon, chief executive of Centre for Ageing Better, a member of HoME, said: “There is a significant lack of accessible housing in England and every time we delay action the situation only gets worse.
“The problem is that our homes are currently designed with only the first users in mind, not the dozens of households and individuals who will use it across its lifespan. For too long the government has neglected to act decisively on improving accessible housing but this consultation offers a real opportunity to improve the lives of older and disabled people now and for generations to come.”
Dixon added: “The government must act now to make sure that the homes we build now are fit for the future. Accessible housing will improve the health and wellbeing of millions of people, allowing us to remain independent and in our own homes for longer.”