Ten organisations from across the housing and charity sectors have formed a new coalition to demand urgent action to build homes that are fit for the UK’s ageing and disabled population.
As parliament dissolves ahead of a general election, Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) has today published an open letter calling on the next government to take greater action to secure housing suitable for all.
Campaigners are predicting “dangerous shortage” of suitable homes in the years to come, with only one new accessible home to be built for every 15 people over the age of 65 by 2030.
The coalition is warning that this will make it more difficult for people to remain living independently in their own homes.
Anna Dixon, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, which co-chairs the coalition with Habinteg Housing, said: “Too many people are today living in homes that limit their independence, as we face a dangerous shortage of homes that are accessible and adaptable. Whilst it’s not inevitable, the likelihood is that most of us will experience disability or difficulties with activities of daily living at some point in our later life. And with more of us living for longer, this dire lack of accessible homes represents a ticking timebomb.
“Urgent action is needed to ensure we are building homes fit for the future, so that more of us are able to stay in our homes for longer and remain safe and independent.
“As we build the homes of tomorrow, it’s crucial that every brick laid today is part of the solution. Central government, local authorities and developers all have a role to play in ensuring that the homes of tomorrow are safe, well-designed and flexible.”
The coalition said that previous commitments to consult on the mandatory building regulations for new homes have not been acted on.
HoME is calling on the next government to urgently consult to ensure that all new homes are built to Building Regulations, Volume 1, M4, Category 2 standards, meaning that they have basic accessibility features that make them suitable for a range of occupants, and can be easily adapted to meet further requirements.
Recent research by Habinteg reveals that most people in Britain are not able to welcome wheelchair users into their home due to poor access.
Sheron Carter, chief executive at Habinteg said: “This is the limiting reality of our current housing stock. So with increasing rates of disability and an ageing population it’s critical that new homes are built to standards that provide greater accessibility and adaptability. Unless we do this we’ll be running into a whole new type of housing crisis in the years to come.”
The 10 organisation that make up the coalition include Habinteg, the Centre for Ageing Better, Age UK and the National Housing Federation.