In 2016 the Equalities and Human Rights Commissin (EHRC) began their formal inquiry into housing for disabled people. They looked at whether the availability of accessible and adaptable housing and the support services around it is fulfilling disabled people's rights to live independently in England, Scotland and Wales. A central approach to this inquiry was to gather evidence from disabled people about their housing experience.
The inquiry reports put the spotlight on the state of the nation's housing for people with a disability highlighting the current lack of adequate provision of accessible and adaptable housing for disabled people provided by local authorities and registered landlords in all three countries.
In particular , the EHRC found 4 major challenges that have informed their recommendations:
- disabled people are too often demoralised and frustrated by the housing system;
- there is a significant shortage of accessible homes;
- installing home adaptations involves unacceptable bureaucracy and delay; and
- disabled people are not getting the support that they need to live independently.
The resultant overarching report recommends that more adaptable homes are built for disabled people and that local and national governments engage with disabled people at planning stages drawing specific attention to:
- Building more accessible and adaptable homes and calling on government to introduce a national strategy that ensures there is an adequate supply of new home built to universal/inclusive design standards and wheelchair-accessible standards;
- Improving the installation of home adaptions, including ensuring more funding is available to increase supply of independent advice and information on housing options;
- Matching homes to the people that need them, including embedding independent living principles into housing assessments & allocations as well improving knowledge and monitoring accessibility of housing via accessible housing registers; and
- Supporting people to live independently, including better integrated funding across housing, health and care and access to disability advice and advocacy services.