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Wheelchair accessible housing – inclusive supply

SFHA will represent members at a forthcoming Pop-Up Think Tank.

Inclusion Scotland has organised the Pop-Up Think Tank to discuss the provision of accessible homes for disabled people in Scotland. SFHA will attend the event to represent members.

Disabled people in Scotland have a right to accessible and adequate housing, yet many struggle to find homes which meet their needs and aspirations. Systems used to identify requirements are not delivering for disabled people, and design standards are not fit for purpose.

Between 2008 and 2016, 132,994 new homes were built in Scotland, yet only 1,427 were built to wheelchair accessible standards.

Most existing homes are not suitable for adaptations. 73% of Scotland’s housing stock was built before 1982 and is not subject to more recent accessibility requirements. Much of this stock includes pre-1919 tenement flats and post-war terraced houses that, in many cases, cannot be adapted to meet the needs of disabled people.

Given that existing stock is often not suitable for adaptation and the historically low level of new build provision, at current rates of build it would take 95 years to meet the current unmet needs of wheelchair users, and 174 years to meet projected needs.

This makes the need for new wheelchair accessible homes even more pressing.

Providing fully accessible homes is not just a job for specialist housing associations: building an inclusive society is everyone’s job. We must start thinking that every home should be accessible by design.

A series of questions will be asked at the Think Tank:

  1. Do we need a national target for the delivery of wheelchair accessible housing in Scotland? If so, how should this target be derived?
  2. What sources of evidence of current and future need for accessible homes can be used by local authorities in their housing demand and needs assessments and local housing strategies? Are there gaps in evidence? How can they be filled?
  3. How do we address the shortfall in supply of accessible homes, particularly wheelchair accessible homes?
  4. Do we need national strategy and policy around planning and delivery of accessible homes?
  5. Are the current design standards for social and private housing in Scotland fit for purpose?
  6. Are we clear enough about the accessibility of the current housing stock across tenure in Scotland? How can we make this picture clearer?

SFHA invites its members to share their views on these particular questions by getting in touch with Zhan McIntyre at zmcintyre@sfha.co.uk before the 12 September 2018.