Disabled People have waited long enough for Housing, now is the time for action!
May 17 2023
Press Release 17 May 2023
Organisations representing disabled people (DPOs), advocacy groups and from the voluntary disability sector and housing sector are calling on the government to publish the implementation plan of the new National Housing Strategy for Disabled People and take effective measures to provide housing for disabled people.
“We welcome the commitments given by Minister of State Kieran O'Donnell during the Topical Issue raised by Deputy Pauline Tully in the Dáil this morning that the publication is imminent and will be accompanied by a public awareness campaign.”
The National Housing Strategy for Disabled People, 2022-2027 was welcomed by disabled people, their representative organisations (DPOs) and the disability sector when it was launched last year. It has the potential to make a hugely positive change for disabled people. However, more than a year later, the housing strategy implementation plan initially expected for June 2022 has still not been released in spite of the urgency and waiting for appropriate housing.
There is an undisputed high-level of unmet housing need among the disabled population:
- Over 1 in 4 people who are homeless (27%) have a disability.
- 2,419 people are still living in congregated disability settings, despite the initial deadline to complete decongregation by 2018.
- More than 1,300 disabled people under the age of 65 are living in nursing homes, as highlighted by the Ombudsman in the Wasted Lives report in 2021.
- There are more than 1,500 people with intellectual disabilities currently living with a primary carer over the age of 70. More than 450 of these family carers are over the age of 80.
- 6% of households on the social housing waiting list have an accommodation requirement due to disability. Some disabled people report being on the social housing waiting list for 10 years or more, according to the Housing Agency Summary of Social Housing Assessments 2022. The waiting time for people with disabilities has increased in recent years, while it has decreased for the general social housing waiting list.
- In AsIAm’s recent Same Chance Report 2023, over a quarter (26%) of those represented in this report say that their present housing situation does not meet their needs.
- These figures are likely an underestimation of the level of need as we hear from many disabled people with housing needs living with families or in unsuitable, inaccessible homes who are not on the social housing waiting lists.
For Budget 2023, only a fraction of the overall increase of €29.25 million for Disability services has been allocated to improve the capacity of residential care (Budget 2023 report page 115) while the Disability Capacity Review on page 24 states that addressing both demographic change and unmet needs would range from an extra €320m to €550m a year by 2032.
The delay to effectively planning the implementation of the new Housing Strategy as well as the lack of acknowledgement of the delay itself and lack of clarity of the timeline is an insult to the thousands of disabled people across the country struggling to access housing. It is also a violation of Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, that Ireland committed to implement, recognising the right for all people to live in the community with choices equal to others.
Therefore, the organisations are today calling for:
- The publication of the implementation plan for the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People, 2022-2027.
- The implementation of the Housing Strategy as well as other key strategies to enable people to live in the community, namely:
- Disability Capacity Review
- Time to Move On from Congregated Settings
- Cost of Disability report
- Amendment to Part M of the Building Regulations (2010) to include wheelchair liveable accommodation.
Adam Harris, CEO, AsIAm
John Dolan, CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland
James Casey, Policy Officer, Independent Living Movement Ireland
Derval McDonagh, CEO, Inclusion Ireland
Donal McManus, CEO, Irish Council for Social Housing
Joan Carthy, National Advocacy Manager, Irish Wheelchair Association
Ber Grogan, Policy and Research Manager, Mental Health Reform
Alison Harnett, CEO, National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers
For further information contact, Derval McDonagh, CEO, Inclusion Ireland on email@example.com 086 0670963