Lack of disabled-friendly homes has frustrating consequences for career prospects

17 November 2014

by Philip Barton

I’ve lived in my Merseyside home for the last 12 years. It is a fully wheelchair accessible property, which I had to wait for two years to move into. Like many others, I am passionate about my work and wish to progress my career through accepting jobs in other areas of the country. However, I’m being held back by the lack of disabled-friendly homes.

I have worked hard, applied for jobs and got them — but I’ve had to turn down two separate job offers due to lack of appropriate accommodation in places such as Oxford. It’s not always easy to find employers who will give disabled candidates a chance — but it’s reallyfrustrating to get a job and then not be able to take it.

I feel trapped because I cannot find a disabled-friendly home of a similar standard to mine. I also worry that many other disabled people are also being locked out of jobs because of similar circumstances.

Tomorrow I will be attending the fifth Annual Disability Colloquium, hosted by the Conservative Disability Group. Many Members of Parliament and national decision makers will be there, including Iain Duncan-Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Mark Harper, the Minister for Disabled People.

I hope to tell them what it feels like to have to turn down a job because you can’t find somewhere to live. I want them to understand the housing crisis being faced by disabled and older people throughout the UK.  I will ask their opinions on how local councils should increase the provision of disabled-friendly homes, giving us freedom in our careers, and choices of where to live.

I want to show those with the power to make decisions regarding Lifetime Homes and full wheelchair accessible standards what a huge difference the existence of disabled-friendly housing would make to my career and my life. Behind every decision are people, their hopes, dreams, aspirations, and fears. I do not believe that a disability should be a barrier to achieving your aspirations, and am hoping the panel at the event will agree with me.

Support the campaign for more disabled-friendly homes: sign the petition today.

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