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New HoME group demands next government addresses dearth of accessible homes

06 November 2019

DRUK has joined forces with nine other organisations in coalition to campaign for accessible housing under the banner 'HoME - Housing Made for Everyone'.

HoME has written an open letter to the next government to demand that urgent action is taken to tackle the growing shortage of accessible homes in the UK.

Sue Bott, DRUK's Head of Policy and Research says: "DRUK is pleased to be a founder member of the HoME coalition. We know from our members how difficult it is to find accessible housing and how many disabled people are living in accommodation that is totally unsuitable. For many disabled people the housing crisis represents a double whammy: first find affordable housing, then try and find affordable accessible housing. In some parts of the country that has become next to impossible."

93% of UK homes are not accessible - this means that disabled people cannot even visit friends, let alone live in adapted accommodation. People living in inaccessible homes are four times less likely to be employed. 

Only 1% of homes to be built outside of London by 2030 are planned with accessibility for wheelchairs in mind.

Poor housing for the over-55s costs the NHS £624 million a year, mainly as a result of excess cold hazards and falls. Without government action this picture will only get worse, with the cost forecast to reach £1 billion per year by 2041. As we build more homes, it’s more important than ever that we build the right homes.

The current trend for accelerated planning or extending permitted development rights could also result in yet more homes failing to meet basic accessibility standards when we urgently need to be increasing the availability of accessible homes.

The HoME group is urging whoever wins the forthcoming election to review the regulatory baseline for homes - to make the accessible, adaptable design standard set out in Building Regulations, Volume 1, M4 Category 2 the mandatory baseline for all new homes and, where need can be demonstrated for M4 Category 3 (wheelchair user dwellings) the next government should make it easier to introduce relevant planning policies. The group is also calling on Government to ensure that Local Authorities have sufficient funding to map and review accessibility requirements in their respective areas. Retrofitting homes is costly - both for people's health, and social care systems.

Read the letter in full here: https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-11/Open-letter-to-the-next-government.pdf