Tai Pawb welcomes the findings of EHRC Inquiry
There is a chronic shortage of accessible and adaptable housing available for disabled and older people, and urgent action is needed to address this shortage.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report highlights the lack of strategic planning and delivery of accessible homes locally, regionally and nationally.
26% of people in Wales are disabled and this number grows to a striking 39% who live in social housing. By 2035, the number of over 65s with a mobility impairment is expected to go up by 58%.
Accessible housing is an essential requirement in facilitating independent living and the well-being of disabled and older people. Lack of accessible homes is having a profound and often devastating impacts on people’s lives, making the effects of housing crisis particularly acute for disabled people.
That is why Tai Pawb welcomes the findings of the Inquiry into Housing for Disabled People. Amongst others, the inquiry finds that we need to build more accessible homes, and use the current accessible and adapted stock more effectively. This follows findings which highlight the lack of strategic planning and delivery of accessible homes locally, regionally and nationally.
Tai Pawb Director Alicja Zalesinska, said:
Despite the recent investment by the Welsh Government to build 20,000 homes by 2021, not enough is being done to look at and use the evidence of need for accessibility we have in Wales. We need a national strategic approach to meet the accessibility requirements of current and future generations. The forthcoming housing policy review should take this into account when looking at the standards and types of housing we want and need in Wales.
We know from the inquiry that only a single local authority in Wales has set targets for building accessible homes in their area and we need to see more of that. A recent Welsh Government report on the use of Local Housing Market Assessments in Wales recognised that a better approach to collecting and using the evidence of accessibility requirements is needed. At the same time, it is evident that there is a need for more and better Accessible Housing Registers in Wales to enable better matching of people, their requirements and the accessible homes available in local areas and we support the EHRC call for a stronger promotion and monitoring of their effectiveness.
Tai Pawb welcomes the Welsh Government commitment to improving the effectiveness of adaptation systems in Wales through ENABLE, the return of housing conditions survey which includes accessibility, and a greater focus on the housing and health integration agenda.
There certainly is good practice in Wales and Tai Pawb has always been involved in helping to promote it across the sector, including supporting local authorities and housing providers in its implementation. We have long been working with the Welsh Government, local authorities, housing associations and partners to increase the provision of accessible homes in Wales and we are looking forward to continuing this work, following the EHRC recommendations.