Research grant for Horizon project into allocation of adapted social housing

disabled-homes-stockHorizon Housing Association has been awarded a £92,500 grant for an 18 month research project into the allocation of adapted and accessibly designed social housing.

The funding, allocated by the Disability Research into Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) programme as part of a £5 million project announced in 2015 supported by the Big Lottery Fund, is for an 18-month ‘Match me’ research project co-produced in partnership by Horizon, Housing Options Scotland and the University of Stirling.

The project will be steered by a disabled-led advisory group and will train and employ self-identifying disabled researchers.

Julia Fitzpatrick, managing director, Horizon Housing Association, said: “Horizon is delighted to have received this award from DRILL. The effective allocation of adapted housing is one of three strands to increasing the supply of accessible homes for disabled people but our scoping study showed there has been very little research on this in the UK and internationally, and none in Scotland. We look forward to working with our partners and disabled people to identify the policy, practice and approaches that lead to effective allocation.”

Isobel Anderson from the University of Stirling explained: “The funding will deliver new research on the experiences of disabled people seeking adapted and accessibly designed social housing, identifying what support they may require with the application and offer processes. We will also work with housing and service providers so that our data can speedily influence lettings practice in the social housing sector, to enhance housing outcomes for disabled people as a fundamental pillar of independent living.”

Housing Options Scotland chief executive, Moira Bayne, added: “Everyone at Housing Options Scotland is looking forward to collaborating on this much needed research.”

Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) is delivered in partnership by Disability Action, Disability Rights UK, Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland.

Dr Sally Witcher, chief executive officer of Inclusion Scotland, said: “There is still a long way to go before we disabled people are able to have full choice and control over our own lives. However the research to be carried out by Horizon Housing Association and their partners will begin to address this in ways that have rarely, if ever, been tried before.

“By funding research driven by disabled people’s own perspectives and priorities, derived from our lived experience of the – often invisible - barriers that exclude us, this work will promote innovative approaches to progressing independent living.

“It will also fundamentally change the traditional relationship between researchers and disabled people. Disabled people will no longer be positioned as the passive subjects of other people’s research investigation but will instead be equal partners in the development and practice of disability research.”

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