Our Housing Rights – Tackling the Housing Crisis Disabled People Face
“Our Housing Rights – Tackling the Housing Crisis Disabled People Face” is a joint campaign between Independent Living Movement Ireland and Inclusion Ireland.
The first stage has been the development of a report based on the experiences and concerns of disabled people and their families who took part in six focus groups carried out in July 2021. It will form the basis of a new campaign to see vital changes in the Housing Strategy for Disabled People, which is currently being developed by The Housing Agency.
The new report highlights the impossible application process that disabled people face. It can be different in every county, it is not transparent and is so complicated and repetitive that it often confuses people. It also requires the disabled person to apply separately to both the local authority for housing and the HSE for a support package. But there is no clear pathway to apply for supports and very little engagement between the local authority and the HSE.
Many disabled people feel that they are being left reliant on family members for accommodation and support, with high numbers now ageing in the family home with ageing parents. Many simply give up or don’t apply, giving a hugely under-estimated picture of the real level of need.
Disabled people make up 13.5% of the population but represent 27% of the homeless population according to the CSO (2016). Just over 4,000 disabled people continue to live in inappropriate institutional settings with many younger people under the age of 65 in nursing homes.
As a priority, disabled people want a fully accessible, central application process where a person can apply for a house and independent living supports together. They want 7.5% of all new social and affordable homes to be ring-fenced for disabled people. In addition, they are calling for a transparent, centralised waiting list that details the number of disabled people actually waiting for housing.
Our Housing Rights – 7 Ways to Change Housing for Disabled People
Establish a central, uniform, accessible application process for housing and independent living supports.
Ring-fence 7.5% of all new social housing and housing provided by approved housing bodies for disabled people.
Government departments, the HSE and local authorities must work together to put systems in place that ensure houses and supports are offered to disabled people simultaneously.
Introduce legislation to put PAs on a statutory footing.
Review or abolish the means test for the Housing Adaptation Grant and make it available to people building their own home.
Set out a plan that is fully costed to move the remaining residents from congregated settings into community settings over a five-year period.
Government and the HSE must plan to move people under 65 living in nursing homes into independent living arrangements.