Concerns over green paper’s ‘chilling’ failure to address accessible housing crisis | DisabledGo News and Blog

The government has been criticised by disabled campaigners and the equality watchdog after its new social housing green paper failed to include a single mention of the accessible housing crisis.

Only three months ago, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) warned that more than 350,000 disabled people in England had unmet housing needs, with one-third of those in private rented accommodation and one-fifth of those in social housing living in unsuitable properties.

EHRC called in its report for the government to draw up a national strategy to ensure an adequate supply of new homes built to inclusive design standards.

But this week’s social housing green paper, described by communities secretary James Brokenshire as a “new deal” for social housing residents – those who pay rent at below market levels – does not mention accessible housing once.

The word “accessible” only appears in the 78-page document four times, on each occasion relating to the need for accessible information or complaints procedures.

The green paper does refer to supported housing, which it explains has a “key role to play” in supporting minority groups including people with mental ill-health, learning difficulties and other disabled people.

But there are no proposals to improve supported housing, other than referring to a U-turnannounced last week, in which ministers said that it would continue to be funded through the social security system rather than being devolved to local authorities as originally planned.

The green paper also mentions an ongoing review of the disabled facilities grant (DFG), which provides funding to make disabled people’s homes more accessible, for example by widening doorways or installing ramps, and which will see spending increase from £220 million in 2015-16 to £505 million in 2019-20.

But there are no new proposals for increasing the supply of accessible housing, or even requests for ideas on how the accessible housing crisis could be addressed.

Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager for Inclusion London, said that reading the green paper and realising its failure to mention the crisis in accessible housing – despite the conclusions reached in the EHRC report – had been a “chilling” experience.


Source: Concerns over green paper’s ‘chilling’ failure to address accessible housing crisis | DisabledGo News and Blog

EHRC earns cautious approval for response to Equality Act report | DisabledGo News and Blog

The equality watchdog has earned cautious approval for its response to recommendations made by a House of Lords committee that examined the impact of the Equality Act on disabled people. The committee concluded earlier this year that the government was failing to protect disabled people from discrimination, and that there were problems with laws designed to address disability discrimination in “almost every part of society”. Last week, the disabled crossbench peer Baroness Campbell, who was a member of the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee throughout its nine-month inquiry, said she was “bitterly disappointed and angry” with the government’s response to the report, which she said was a “wasted opportunity to kick-start a progressive equality agenda for the UK’s 11 million disabled people”. This week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) delivered its own response to the report, including eight recommendations that call for it to take action itself. Of those eight

Source: EHRC earns cautious approval for response to Equality Act report | DisabledGo News and Blog