Report reveals inadequate accessible housing now a ‘major barrier’

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A new report from the charity Papworth Trust has revealed that the issues the disabled face when searching for adequate housing are now a major barrier to independent living

As a result of inadequate housing needs for accessible housing, disabled people are four times more likely to be unemployed or not seeking work, the report suggests.

The Trust’s Disability Facts and Figures 2018 brings together key facts and figures from across the Third Sector to highlight its priorities around social care, work and housing.

Now in its eighth year, the report also features other key themes facing accessible housing and includes a new section on carers.

Rob Hammond, chair of trustees at Papworth Trust, said the “clear message” from the report is that there is still much work to be done to ensure disabled people have equality, choice and independence in their daily lives.

Hammond said: “The report places a deliberate emphasis on Papworth Trust’s key policy areas of employment, social care and housing.

“We believe they hold the greatest inequality for disabled people and are therefore the areas that require the greatest socio-economic and policy changes.

“We also felt it was crucial to pay particular attention to the role of informal carers, to explore the challenges of the current care funding crisis and the impact on individuals who provide unpaid care.”

On housing, the report also states:

  • There are 1 .8 million disabled people with unmet housing needs, 580,000 of whom are of working age
  • Of all owner-occupied households, one in four (480,000) needing accessible housing have incomes above the median income after housing costs (£448 per week)
  • Of the 1.8 million disabled people needing accessible homes, 55% are homeowners.

According to an lpsos MORI poll, 50% of people said they would favour staying in their current home with some adaptations to allow them to live independently, and 19% of (which equates to 9 .8 million) people would favour moving to a different property specifically designed or adapted to enable them to live independently.

An estimated two thirds of single disabled people who live alone are in poverty.

Overall, 47% of respondents say they would be more likely to consider moving to a property if it had a downstairs bathroom and 59% of disabled people aged 65 and over say they will need accessible housing features in the next five years.

On tenure types, the report found:

  • Disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to be social housing tenants
  • In 2015-16, 23% of households in the private rented sector included at least one member who had a long-term illness or disability
  • Over the same period, 49% of households in the social rented sector included someone with a long-term illness or disability
  • Among homeowners, 29% of households had at least one member with a disability or long-term illness
  • Private renters under the age of 55 who have a long-term condition are more likely (32%) to feel that their home is unsuitable for their needs – those over the age of 75 were least likely to feel their home was unsuitable.

On adaptations, the report identified:

  • 1.9 million households in England (9%) had one or more people with a long-term limiting illness or disability that required adaptations to their home
  • 81 % of households, that required adaptations due to their long-term limiting disability, felt their home was suitable for their needs – 19% (around 365,000 households) who considered their household unsuitable for their needs accounted for 2% of all households in England.
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