Habinteg Housing Association Bramley, Leeds. Ian Whetham in his home.

The Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition is calling for the public to back its proposals to improve the UK’s accessible housing stock and urging the government to take urgent action.

It follows the opening of the government’s consultation on its long-awaited proposals to raise standards so that all new homes are built to meet the needs of current and future generations of older and disabled people.

Individuals and organisations can have their say by responding to the consultation before the deadline of 1 December.

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To help people make their voices heard, the coalition of charities and housing organisations has created a simple guide with background information and suggested responses.

It is calling specifically for the government to raise building standards to make the ‘accessible and adaptable’ design standard the mandatory baseline for all new homes (set out in Building Regulations M4 Category 2).

Introduced in 2015 to ensure new homes are built with basic accessibility features which can be easily adapted in the future, the M4 (Category 2) standard is currently optional.

Local Planning Authorities are required to make the case for requiring new homes in their area to be built to the standard, with organisations such as Age UK criticising developers for challenging the requirements on cost-based arguments which the charity claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

With an overwhelming 91 per cent of homes not providing even the lowest level of accessibility, fewer than one in ten homes are suitable for older or disabled people to visit, let alone live in, states HoME.

In spite of this, the UK’s population continues to age. Increasing numbers of people are living into their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. In less than 20 years, one in four people will be over 65.

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “There is a significant lack of accessible housing in England and every time we delay action the situation only gets worse.

“The problem is that our homes are currently designed with only the first users in mind, not the dozens of households and individuals who will use it across its lifespan. For too long the government has neglected to act decisively on improving accessible housing but this consultation offers a real opportunity to improve the lives of older and disabled people now and for generations to come.”

The coalition also emphasises that, contrary to common misconceptions, more than 90 per cent of older people live in mainstream housing, rather than specialist housing or care homes.

“The government must act now to make sure that the homes we build now are fit for the future,” continued Dixon.

“Accessible housing will improve the health and wellbeing of millions of people, allowing us to remain independent and in our own homes for longer.”

Sheron Carter, Chief Executive of Habinteg Housing, added: “Our experience during COVID-19 has highlighted for everyone how much the design of our homes can impact on our physical and mental health.

“This consultation is a critical opportunity to kick start a new age for accessible homes which has been widely welcomed by disabled and older people. It offers the opportunity to make sure that all new homes meet the accessible and adaptable standard set down in building regulations whilst also ensuring a much-needed increase in the number of homes suitable for wheelchair users to live in. The needs of older and disabled people are felt right across the country so establishing policy at a national level is vital.

“We strongly encourage all individuals and organisations to join us in engaging with the consultation process.”

Established 12 months ago, the HoME coalition is formed of 10 leading third sector organisations, including the Centre for Ageing Better, Habinteg Housing, Age UK and RIBA.

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https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/accessible-housing-shortage-call-Age-UK-Habinteg.jpg?fit=1000%2C664&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/accessible-housing-shortage-call-Age-UK-Habinteg.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Calvin BarnettGovernment & Local AuthoritiesHousingNewsroomSector NewsThird Sectoraccessible housing,Age UK,Centre for Ageing Better,coalition,consultations,Habinteg,HoME,housing,housing associations,Housing Made for Everyone,M4 Category 2 Standard,proposals,RIBAThe Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition is calling for the public to back its proposals to improve the UK’s accessible housing stock and urging the government to take urgent action.It follows the opening of the government's consultation on its long-awaited proposals to raise standards so that all new...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals