Inaccessible homes made lockdown tougher for disabled

A new poll commissioned by housing association Habinteg has found that inaccessible housing made lockdown significantly harder for many disabled people...

Habinteg is running its fifth #ForAccessibleHomes week from 14-18 September 2020.

New research published this week has found that inaccessible housing made lockdown significantly harder for many disabled adults across the UK.

The YouGov poll, which was commissioned by housing association Habinteg, revealed that of those disabled people surveyed, their wellbeing during lockdown was three times more likely to have been damaged by lack of access in the home when compared to non-disabled people (21% v 6%).

Meanwhile, more than two in five were unable to fully use their bathroom or kitchen without assistance (22% and 23%).

The poll – which marks the start of Habinteg’s annual #ForAccessibleHomes week – also found that the disabled respondents surveyed were 17 times more likely than non-disabled people to be unable to carry out all daily tasks and activities at home without assistance during lockdown (35% v 2%).

These findings come as the Government has launched its public consultation on making all new homes more accessible for older and disabled people.

The survey also found that:

  • Disabled respondents were 23 times more likely to be unable to use all parts of their kitchen without assistance during lockdown than non-disabled people (23% v 1%).
  • Disabled respondents were 22 times more likely to be unable to use all parts of their bathroom without assistance during lockdown than non-disabled people. (22% v 1%)
  • Almost one in four disabled people (24%) do not have a home that meets their access needs.

Amy Jonson, who lives in an inaccessible home with her disabled son, said:

“My property doesn’t have many accessible features, which means I’m usually left carrying my son around the home and in and out the bath tub; he’s nearly nine so as you can imagine, this is not an easy task. When lockdown began, I was the sole carer for my son 24 hours a day due to the school closures. This meant I had to do more lifting than I was used to. It really highlighted just how bad our house is for my son’s health (and mine) and it cannot be a long term solution if he is to ever be independent.

“Habinteg’s findings prove that my situation isn’t a rare one. Many disabled people up and down the country have had to make do in homes that just aren’t suitable for them. We really need this to change.”

Habinteg’s CEO, Sheron Carter, says:

“Lockdown was challenging for most people, but this data shows that for far too many disabled people the challenges were significantly worse because of access issues within their home. For far too long disabled and older people have been expected to ‘make do’ and put up with being unable to carry out the basics of daily living with any degree of independence.

“We really must do better to meet the housing needs of our whole community.

“Last week the Government launched its consultation on the accessibility of all new homes – a step that Habinteg has long been calling for. We’ll be campaigning hard to secure concrete change in the accessibility expected of all new homes. In the meantime, we need the Government to support local authorities to redouble their efforts to provide aids and adaptations to improve people’s independence at home, especially with the possibility of further social restrictions on the horizon.

“Disabled and older people deserve better than ‘making do’.”

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in July 2020 showed that just 9% of homes in England offer even the most basic access features to be considered ‘visitable’ by a range of people including disabled people. It also showed that there are at least 400,000 disabled adults living in homes that are neither accessible nor adapted.

From 14-18 September 2020, Habinteg run its fifth #ForAccessibleHomes week, campaigning for an increase in accessible homes and highlighting the positive impact they can bring to individuals, families and the community.

Find out more at www.habinteg/FAH.