Housing association, Habinteg, has called on the government to do more to support older and disabled people after new data revealed a “woefully inadequate” proportion of accessible homes in England.
Statistics published last week from the English Housing Survey 2018/19 revealed that just 9% of homes in England have key features, such as a toilet at entrance level and sufficiently wide doorways, to deem them accessible.
It found that although more than half (57%) of wheelchair users are living in adapted homes, with features such as grab rails, ramps and stair lifts, just 16% are living in accessible homes and less than two thirds (64%) had somewhere to store their wheelchair.
And according to Habinteg, more than 400,000 wheelchair users are living in homes which are neither adapted not accessible.
Habinteg CEO Sheron Carter, said: “Whilst it’s encouraging to see the proportion of homes with basic accessibility features increasing to 9% from 5% in 2005, it’s clear that the total proportion of homes which are accessible is still woefully inadequate.
“That’s why the government must change the regulation to ensure all new homes being built are accessible for older and disabled people.”
Kerry Thompson, a wheelchair user and Habinteg tenant from Milton Keynes, who met this week with the Housing Minister, said: “Living in an accessible home myself, I know first-hand how vital they are for a disabled person like me. Accessible and adapted homes help alleviate pressures on health and social care services and budgets.
“They enable greater independence at home and speed up hospital discharges. This is crucial at a time when our NHS and Social Care provision is already under enormous strain. I hope this new data urges the government to launch a new consultation into accessible housing standards.”
Alongside Habinteg’s call for accessible and adapted housing, the Centre for Ageing Better and Care and Repair England urging the new government invest £4.3 billion to address the housing crisis.
Recent research from the charities revealed that over two million people over the age of 55 are living in a home that endangers their health or wellbeing.