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Muscular Dystrophy UK Report Highlights Devastating Effect Of The Housing Crisis On Disabled People

September 16, 2015

A charity has highlighted the “devastating” impact that the housing crisis is having on disabled people in England, with some being forced to choose between struggling in an unsuitable property or racking up huge debts attempting to adapt it.

Muscular Dystrophy UK, which compiled the report, said there is an alarming lack of accessible housing in many parts of the country.

It found that some councils in England have more than 100 households waiting for wheelchair-accessible homes.

The charity said that a lack of wheelchair-accessible housing is having a “devastating impact on households”.

Cases it has seen include a 61-year-old man who has a muscle-wasting condition and cannot afford to adapt his bathroom, meaning he has been unable to have a shower or a bath for a year.

It also highlighted the case of a 15-year-old boy with a life-limiting condition, whose family were left with £15,000-worth of credit card debt after adapting their home.

Some parents were having to carry their children upstairs due to their property being inaccessible, the charity said.

Between July and August 2015, the charity carried out a survey of people living with muscle-wasting conditions, to find out about their experiences of getting accessible housing and carrying out adaptations to their home.

It also submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to local authorities in England, to find out what support was being offered.

The Breaking Point report surveyed nearly 300 people who had been offered a home by their council – of which 70% said the property was unsuitable. Over a third said they had faced serious financial hardship trying to adapt their home.

FOI requests made by the charity to councils in England found that in Harlow, for example, 166 households were waiting for wheelchair-accessible homes, while in Camden this figure was 122 and in the Blackburn with Darwen council area 155 households were found to be waiting.

The charity is calling for local authorities to act urgently, with the help of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It said they should ensure that at least 10% of all new houses within new developments are wheelchair accessible.

It said the maximum grant of £30,000 to make a home liveable in has not increased since 2008, meaning that many people are facing spending thousands of pounds of their own money to adapt basic facilities.

Nic Bungay, director of campaigns, care and information for Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “People are being forced to choose between struggling in a home they cannot use or getting into vast sums of debt in order to adapt their property themselves…

“For too long, local authorities have failed to ensure that new developments include enough wheelchair-accessible housing.”

A DCLG spokeswoman said: “The Government is committed to helping disabled people live as comfortably and independently as possible in their own homes.

“We have invested just over £1 billion through the Disabled Facilities Grants since 2010 to fund adaptations to homes. This has helped thousands of disabled people live safely at home, funding around 170,000 adaptations, but we are always listening to the sector to see how we can best provide for those most in need.

“We are also getting Britain building again with more than 570,000 new homes built since April 2010.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2015 9:35 am

    Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

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