Housing crisis and people with disabilities
Sir, – The current housing crisis is exerting an acute, if rarely considered, impact on people with disabilities. For a community that is so often an afterthought in policymaking, the reality of poor and unsuitable housing can not only affect the quality of life but seriously impinge on it.
In Ireland between 13 per cent and 15 per cent of our population is living with some kind of disability but our nation’s main strategy for providing suitable living conditions is a retrospective one through the housing adaption grant, and even this is underfunded. It is also the case that hundreds of people with disabilities under the age of 65 are currently living inappropriately in nursing homes for older people. Is it time for local authorities to take the lead from an increasingly struggling Department of Housing to ensure that a suitable percentage, perhaps 12 per cent, of all new homes are universally accessible? Housing built to these design standards are also suitable for young families and older occupants who may have difficulties with mobility.
For many people with disabilities, decent housing is a route towards better health outcomes and full integration into their communities, something that we are denying to so many today. – Yours, etc,