12 Nov 2019
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The Centre for Ageing Better and nine organisations from across the housing and charity sectors are today warning of a crisis in the provision of suitable housing for older and disabled people as they launch a new coalition to campaign for accessible homes.
As parliament dissolves ahead of a general election, Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) has published an open letter calling on the next government to take greater action to secure housing suitable for all.
Recent research showed that less than half of local housebuilding plans in England included provision for accessible homes. Meanwhile the number of households headed by someone aged 65 and over has increased by more than a million since 2010/11. By 2030, projected figures suggest that there will be just one new accessible home built for every 15 people over the age of 65.
Previous commitments to consult on the mandatory building regulations for new homes have not been acted on. The HoME coalition is calling on the next government to urgently consult to ensure that all new homes are built to Building Regulations, Volume 1, M4, Category 2 standards, meaning that they have basic accessibility features that make them suitable for a range of occupants, and can be easily adapted to meet further requirements.
“Too many people are today living in homes that limit their independence, as we face a dangerous shortage of homes that are accessible and adaptable. Whilst it’s not inevitable, the likelihood is that most of us will experience disability or difficulties with activities of daily living at some point in our later life. And with more of us living for longer, this dire lack of accessible homes represents a ticking timebomb.
“Urgent action is needed to ensure we are building homes fit for the future, so that more of us are able to stay in our homes for longer and remain safe and independent.
“As we build the homes of tomorrow, it’s crucial that every brick laid today is part of the solution. Central government, local authorities and developers all have a role to play in ensuring that the homes of tomorrow are safe, well-designed and flexible.”
“Recent research by Habinteg reveals that most people in Britain are not able to welcome a wheelchair user into their home due to poor access. This is the limiting reality of our current housing stock. So with increasing rates of disability and an ageing population it’s critical that new homes are built to standards that provide greater accessibility and adaptability. Unless we do this we’ll be running into a whole new type of housing crisis in the years to come.
“We’re heartened to see so many high profile organisations joining forces to press for change on such a crucial issue. We can and should be building homes to be inclusive of all.”
The HoME coalition has today launched a 7-step charter to transform new housing, including recommendations for central and local government, estate agents, and developers. The 7 steps (download below) include a higher regulatory baseline for accessibility of all new homes; better data on the availability of accessible homes; and bold policies on planning for accessible housing from Local Authorities.