Living not existing: The social value of wheelchair user homes

Living not exciting cover

To coincide with Accessible Homes Week 2023, Habinteg shares key findings from their research with London School of Economics into the social and economic value of wheelchair user homes.

In research commissioned by Habinteg Housing Association, the London School of Economics (LSE) and Political Science Housing and Communities research group interviewed people from three household types and analysed publicly available data to discover the value to society and the economy of building new wheelchair user homes.

The research report revealed that the additional cost of building a wheelchair user home – instead of an accessible & adaptable home - for a typical disabled adult of working age is around £22,000, with the potential ten-year financial and social benefit to the individual and the public purse being around £94,000.

The research identifies eight key social benefit areas that new wheelchair user homes can bring to individuals and society, as well as the government and NHS. They include:

  • Removing/reducing the cost of care assistance in the home
  • Giving households with a wheelchair user higher disposable income.
  • Reducing dependence on welfare benefits & enabling a greater contribution to tax and National Insurance
  • Improving confidence & independence at home

The report also calls on government to:

  1. Revise the National Planning Policy Framework to explicitly require all local plans to include a specific policy and target for new wheelchair accessible (M4(3) homes, and where no local target is set to require 10% of new homes to meet the standard.
  2. Require the Planning Inspectorate to reject any local plan that omits a policy statement and target for M4(3) homes.
  3. Ensure that Homes England prioritises funding for developments that provide new wheelchair accessible homes across a range of house types and tenures.
  4. Implement the planned new regulatory baseline for accessible homes and ensure that all Local Authorities enforce the requirements to build to the M4(2) accessible and adaptable standard. This will provide greater accessible and adaptable housing choice for all.

Jeremy Porteus, founder and CEO, Housing LIN, said:

“This report provides useful findings on the state of wheelchair housing in the UK but, most importantly, offers a set of essential and achievable policy and practical recommendations to ensure more accessible homes are now built, founded on the lived experiences of people living with disabilities.”

The Housing LIN is proud to work alongside Habinteg as a founding member of the Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) Coalition

And, if you found this of interest, find further information and useful resources on accessible and adaptable design here.