An enquiry into the Housing Needs of Disabled People for the EHRC
In 2017, the Equality and Human Rights Commission conducted an inquiry on housing for disabled people in Britain. The inquiry investigated the availability of accessible and adaptable housing, the support services around it, and the extent to which the rights of disabled people to live independently are being fulfilled.
Local authorities (LA) in Britain have responsibility for a variety of activities that may determine disabled residents’ ability to obtain suitable housing. The survey aimed to gather responses from a large proportion of LAs regarding their work in ensuring disabled people are able to find suitable housing, identifying both their strengths and their weaknesses.
The study involved an online survey of all local authorities and achieved a response rate of 83%. The survey collected some complex volumetric data about the nature of the authorities housing stock and the provision of different grades of accessible housing. In addition to quantitative research with local authorities, the study also involved a desk-research / evidence review stage focussing particularly on the evidence around the cost-benefit of housing adaptations.
The findings suggest that local authorities are struggling to meet the housing needs of disabled people in a very challenging policy and funding environment. The data they hold, both on disabled people and their own housing stock, is typically poor; local authorities do not build enough accessible homes and disabled people experience long waits either to be allocated an accessible home or to have an adaptation installed in their existing one. There is also significant variation in local authorities’ performance.