The Disabled People’s Annual Summit 2016 was called Our Space, Our Place

It was a chance for disabled people to  come together to share their lived experience of accessing housing and housing services.  This report tells our stories and makes recommendations for changes that will help to remove the barriers we face.  We will share this report with decision makers, developers and others who can help us to make these changes happen.

Housing is a human rights issue.  Accessible, affordable and suitable housing is at the heart of equality and independent living for disabled people.  And yet, despite the well-documented shortfall of such housing and the damaging impact that this has for disabled people, their families and their communities, we have still not seen a national strategic approach to tackling the issue.

There are real opportunities for change now. The Scottish Government has committed to investing £3billion to build 50,000 new affordable homes. In the 2017-18 budget they recognised that accessible, affordable, energy-efficient housing can ‘contribute significantly to our wider aims to tackle poverty and health inequalities and to build confidence and capacity in communities’.  However, we have yet to see any explicit commitment to spending a fair share of this financial investment on increasing the supply of accessible housing with sufficient space standards and other features that will meet the needs of disabled people, over and above minimum standards for social housing and the Building Regulations for private housing which do not fully address this.

We know that 70% of the 50,000 new houses should be built to standards in the Housing for Varying Needs general guidance[i], but additionally we believe that a fair proportion must be built to the more spacious wheelchair accessible standards. Not to do so means that Scotland cannot meet the current and future needs of disabled and older people.  

‘Homes Fit for the 21st Century’[ii], the Scottish Government’s flagship Strategy and Action Plan for Housing 2011-2020 calls for a substantial increase in the number of homes that meet the needs of disabled people and older people for independent living. However, the Scottish Government’s Joint Housing Delivery Plan[iii], which outlines how the government plans to act on this housing strategy, fails to make any mention or broker any activity which will lead to more new accessible housing being built. We believe that this omission must be addressed immediately.

By dedicating Summit 2016 to housing we send a strong message to the Scottish Government, and other public and private bodies concerned with housing in Scotland, that we all need to work together to realise this ambition and stop ignoring the unmet housing needs of disabled people. We know that disabled people will be closer to equality, and Scotland will be a stronger and more cohesive society for it.

View Press Release: "Call on Scottish Government to seize once in a generation opportunity to tackle accessible housing crisis"

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