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Report warns of 'hidden crisis' in disability housing

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A lack of appropriate housing is caused a “hidden crisis” for people with disabilities, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The report published today calls on national and local government to act quickly to address the “severe shortage” of homes adapted for people with disabilities across the country.

The commission found 365,000 disabled people in the UK considered their homes usuitable for their needs.

It said this was reducing people’s ability to find work, with people in inadequate homes reportedly four times more likely to be unemployed.

Following the 18-week inquiry, the commission found that only 22% of councils reported having an accessible housing register, while 28% had an existing target for accessible housing.

The commission also raised concerns about the level of bureaucracy faced by people with disabilities when trying to adapt their homes.

The report said: “Disabled people reported that local authorities’ practice on consultation with disabled people is weak and that this, coupled with reductions in funding for disabled people’s organisations, makes it difficult to contribute to formal consultation processes.”

EHRC chair David Isaac said: “No one’s right to independent living should be limited by their home, and making the necessary adaptations should never require lengthy waiting lists and result in endless confusion.

”Governments must.. act now to address this hidden crisis that affects the lives of so many disabled people.”

The commission calls on the government to set out a national strategy for ensuring the adequate supply of accessible homes that meet design standards. It also calls for a review on the way those building standards are enforced.

Responding to the report, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board Izzi Seccombe said: “It is crucial that councils have greater planning powers and resources to hold developers to account, ensuring that they build the right homes in the right places needed by different groups within the local community.

“The future of specialised housing funding should have regard to the wider context facing councils, in particular, the overall funding challenge facing councils, especially adult social care which funds the support element of supported housing, the availability of follow-on housing and welfare reform.”



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