January 16, 2020
For people with disabilities, they often turn to specially-made accessible housing. However, in this ever-growing world, there is one main issue. There isn’t enough accessible housing to go around.
Many disabled house seekers are finding it difficult to find suitable housing. Housing expert Roger Silowell has said on the matter “It’s a real tragedy. We have these brand new homes being built all around us. But the people who need them the most, can’t physically get them. Not due to a lack of means, but a lack of suitability.”
The claim follows an 18 month study undertaken by the University of Stirling. When asked about this, he said “Thousands of new homes are built every month. But only a tiny percentage of them are going towards disabled housing. This is causing many people to go thousands of pounds in debt. Not just for the house, but for renovations to make it livable, even when the house is only a few months old.”
The study followed 28 disabled home seekers in three locations. During the course of the study, most received offers for housing not fit for purpose. The rest received no offers at all. When asked about this, Roger replied “It’s not uncommon. In fact it’s becoming increasingly more common. Companies build houses to make a profit, not for suitability. Whilst this is an understandable stance for a company, they should at least make modifications easier.”
Lead researcher Professor Isobel Anderson said of the matter: “Diabled people are continuing to live in unsuitable accommodation. This is obviously causing significant metal and physical harm. Disabled people and their families should have access to suitable housing. After all, it is a human right.”
She hopes that by publishing her findings, companies will take this on board. She also hopes that shareholders will push for their company to take action. If not making easily accessible housing outright, at least making it easier for modifications to be done.
In one part of the study, she talks about how one participant had to: “Get into a chair. Transfer to her wheelchair, go up a stairlift and then use the toilet- and then back again. All for the purpose of using the toilet.” Although, it is stated that months prior to the study, there had been no stairlift. Meaning that it would have taken much longer to get to the toilet.
The research was sponsored by the Disability Research into Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) programme. DRILL had given UIS a grant to look into the effects of poor housing on the health of disabled people. When interviewed, a DRILL spokesman said “We knew it was bad. We just never could have imagined it was this bad. We genuinely hope that when building companies hear this, it will persuade them. Maybe not building estates of dedicated accessible housing, but at least some. And if not, it should be the duty of the stakeholders to pressure the company into doing so.