Over two-thirds of Brits say their homes are no-go zones for wheelchair users amid calls for greater accessibility
A new poll commissioned by Habinteg, the charitable housing association specialising in accessible housing, has revealed most people in Britain are unable to welcome wheelchair users into their homes due to poor access.
Surveying 2,014 people across England, Wales and Scotland in August 2019, the poll found only one in five respondents say a wheelchair user would reasonably be able to access all areas of their home, whilst almost seven in 10 confirmed that such manoeuvrability would not be possible.
Interestingly, under a third of respondents in England (31 percent) felt that wheelchair users would be able to make use of the appliances in their home including accessing the wardrobes and opening fridges/ovens.
According to the survey, typical reasons why homes are inaccessible include steps into the front door, the width of doors into and around the house, and bathrooms that are located upstairs.
“All of us benefit from step-free, well-designed spaces when we’re handling furniture, heavy shopping or luggage and welcoming visitors with access requirements.” Holly Holder, Centre for Ageing Better
The level of poor access is having a detrimental impact on the health and quality of life of disabled people and their families, emphasises the accessible housing association.
“I’ve been forced to physically drag myself up each step into my house, heaving my wheelchair behind me,” said Sarah O’Connor, a qualified nurse and wheelchair user from London.
“I’ve had countless experiences where I’ve had to decline an invite to a colleague/friend’s house due to the pure anxiety of not knowing whether I’ll be able to go to the toilet or even reach the sink to wash my hands.”
This lack of accessibility has led to disabled campaigners from across the country demanding the government change policy on accessible housing.
Commenting on the findings, Sheron Carter, CEO at Habinteg, said: “Habinteg’s founding mission was to ensure that disabled people and non-disabled people can live together as neighbours. Today’s poll results show how far we have yet to go as a society. They reinforce what we have known for a long time: the government and local authorities are simply not doing enough for our disabled and older population.
“We are calling on the government to urgently change national policy to ensure all new homes are built to accessible and adaptable standards. This was promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May in July as part of a new consultation, and we now need the new PM to honour that pledge”
The new YouGov poll follows recent research by the leading expert in accessible housing and disability that disclosed under a quarter (23 percent) of new home homes outside of London are planned to be accessible, despite the UK’s rapidly ageing population.
The lack of accessible housing available to meet the growing demographic of disabled residents has been called an imminent ‘invisible housing crisis’ by organisations, including Habinteg, Age UK, the Centre for Ageing Better and the Local Government Association.
“This insightful polling lays bare the shocking state of our homes when it comes to access for wheelchair users,” commented Holly Holder, Evidence Manager of Centre for Ageing Better.
“A safe and accessible home is deeply important for all of us. Whilst it’s not inevitable, the likelihood is that most of us will become less physically able as we grow older. And many people have mobility challenges from lifelong conditions or because of an accident.
“All of us benefit from step-free, well-designed spaces when we’re handling furniture, heavy shopping or luggage and welcoming visitors with access requirements. All new homes should be built to accessible standards, and people should be given more support to adapt and repair the homes they’re already in.”https://thiis.co.uk/over-two-thirds-of-brits-say-their-homes-are-no-go-zones-for-wheelchair-users-amid-calls-for-greater-accessibility/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/generic-accessible-housing-pic.jpg?fit=1000%2C630&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/generic-accessible-housing-pic.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Charities & OrganisationsHousingNewsroomaccessible housing,Age UK,Centre of Ageing Better,England,Habinteg,housing,Local Government Association,Scotland,Wales,wheelchair user,YouGovA new poll commissioned by Habinteg, the charitable housing association specialising in accessible housing, has revealed most people in Britain are unable to welcome wheelchair users into their homes due to poor access. Surveying 2,014 people across England, Wales and Scotland in August 2019, the poll found only one in...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine