Campaigners warn of lack of homes for disabled people

Ministers have been urged to take urgent action to tackle a “dire” shortage of accessible homes in Scotland.

People who live with disabilities, and the organisations and charities which support them, have come together to demand immediate, multi-agency action towards creating new disabled-friendly housing.

They said the Scottish Government, local authorities, landlords and housebuilders must now move to defuse the “ticking time-bomb” caused by lack of appropriate housing.

A major summit held in Glasgow last week heard that a severe shortage of accessible homes is having serious implications for disabled people and their families, social care support, health services, and communities.

Delegates heard that thousands of disabled people are trapped in unsuitable homes where they cannot move around, get out, cook, wash or use the toilet or are forced to live in residential care or stay in hospital, which in turn drains NHS resources.

The current situation is also expected to get worse unless action is taken soon, with predictions of an 85 per cent increase in the number of over-75s over the next 25 years, many of whom will be disabled or have long term conditions.

A report from the Our Place, Our Space Annual Disabled People’s Summit urges local and national government to work with disabled people and their disabled people’s organisations to address current unmet and future housing needs.

Summit organisers Independent Living in Scotland, joined forces with Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, Capability Scotland, Scottish Disability Equality Forum, Blackwood and the Scottish Older People’s Assembly.

They are calling for all disabled people and those with long-term conditions, to be able to choose a home that meets their needs by being accessible, adaptable, affordable and in the right area.

Heather Fisken, Independent Living in Scotland project manager, said: “This is a human rights issue for disabled people. Accessible, affordable and suitable housing is at the heart of equality, independent living and a positive sense of identity and well-being for disabled people in Scotland.

“If we do not future proof Scotland’s housing stock by building new accessible homes and ensuring that others can be adapted if needed, we are creating a ticking time bomb that will have significant implications for services, housing and support all across Scotland, not to mention the life chances of hundreds of thousands of disabled people.

“Despite the well-documented shortfall in the supply of accessible housing in Scotland, we have not yet seen a national activity to really resolve this issue. While we welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to invest £3 billion to build 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years – we need to see action which increases the supply of accessible homes.”

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