The long wait for a home — councils are failing disabled people
19 April 2015
by Rosanna Singler
Today we publish new research into the long wait that many disabled people face when they desperately need adaptations to their homes.
The report, The Long Wait for a Home, reveals that, shockingly, these delays are the result of breaches in the law by local councils.
Last year, two councils in three (62%) failed to pay for agreed adaptations at least once within the one-year time limit set out in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
While that may sound technical, the results are anything but. They result in people like Stephan waiting for seven years for a home he can get around in his electric wheelchair.
When he moved out of residential care into his current home, he hoped and expected to be able to live independently. Instead, seven years later, he cannot get into his kitchen to prepare his own dinner, and is unable to have visitors because he can’t close the bathroom door with his wheelchair inside.
And Stephan is only one of 2,500 disabled people who waited more than a year for an adaptation last year alone.
So what needs to change?
Firstly, councils must guarantee that no disabled person waits longer than 18 months for essential adaptations to their home. In many cases, the payments should be made much more quickly.
We are also calling for more funding for adaptations from both local and national government. The current shortages in funding leave people like Adam being refused funding for vital adaptations that they desperately need.
For Adam, this lack of funding has left him crawling up the stairs, and hanging on to the furniture for almost ten years — dramatically increasing the risk of having an accident.
Finally, all new homes must be built to Lifetime Homes standards while allow homes to be adapted easily and cheaply as disabled people need.
Read more about Stephan, Adam and others in the full report, The Long Wait for a Home.
To find out the shocking lack of disabled-friendly homes in your area, visit our new website, Can't Move.
Rosanna Singler is Policy Officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability.