Accessible housing kitchen wheelchair

Disabled people are sometimes waiting more than two years after council approval for vital adaptations to their homes to be completed, according to new research by leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

The findings are based on Freedom of Information responses from 180 councils about Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) in England from 2015-2019.

According to Leonard Cheshire’s findings, 67 percent of councils had disabled residents waiting longer than the 12-month statutory deadline for completing essential home adaptation work. Between the financial years 2015/16 and 2017/2018, across 180 councils, an average of over 1,000 people per year waited longer than 12 months for completion of adaptations.

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In addition, 23 percent of councils showed some disabled people waiting after council approval for two years or more before accommodation changes were completed.

Crucial works such as widening doors, putting in grab rails or making kitchens and bathrooms accessible allow people with reduced mobility to wash, cook and clean safely and often more independently. The works can reduce or in some cases remove the need for social care.

If homes are not fully accessible for residents, people are at risk of physical injury and mental health problems, says Leonard Cheshire.

Furthermore, the charity’s research outlines that delays and missed deadlines persist as demand for home adaptations through DFGs rose by 27 percent between 2015 and 2019.

By law, councils are required to approve or reject DFG applications within six months and then ensure that works are completed within 12 months.

From its findings, Leonard Cheshire says that half of councils had at least one example of missing the initial six-month deadline to approve or deny completed DFG applications. Although, the disability charity says this figure could be higher because some councils did not provide this information.

Gemma Hope, Director of Policy at Leonard Cheshire, commented: “Disabled Facilities Grants are vital for disabled people. Underfunded councils need more resources to ensure that demand for these vital adaptations is met, so that people can have homes that meet their individual needs.

“We want councils to ensure disabled people wait no longer than eighteen months for essential adaptations to their home.”

Additionally, several people who have experienced the DFG process also reported that they found the earlier application process challenging. An online survey conducted by Leonard Cheshire and Disability Horizons in spring 2020 revealed that 20 out of 35 disabled people found filling in a DFG application ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.

https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/generic-accessible-housing-pic.jpg?fit=1000%2C630&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/generic-accessible-housing-pic.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Sarah SarsbyHousingNewsroomReports & ResearchSector Newsaccessible housing,accessible housing research,DFG,disability charity,Disabled Facilities Grant,home adaptations,housing adaptations,Leonard Cheshire,reduced mobilityDisabled people are sometimes waiting more than two years after council approval for vital adaptations to their homes to be completed, according to new research by leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire.The findings are based on Freedom of Information responses from 180 councils about Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) in England...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals