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Background Info

500,000 people across the UK become disabled every year. That means homes need to be adaptable, so that in the future they can add grab rails and wet rooms, stairlifts or hoists. But many existing homes can’t be adapted at all, and even with newly built homes, most can’t be adapted cheaply. Critically, in Scotland at the current rate of increase, it would take 62 years for there to be enough wheelchair accessible social housing in Scotland to meet demand:

  • Almost 20,000 people with disabilities are waiting for homes on housing waiting lists in Scotland, equating to  more than 1,600 for every local authority;
  • Almost three quarters (71%) of people in Scotland report that they live in a home without an accessible front door; and
  • One in six people with disabilities in the UK and half of all disabled children are living in housing that isn’t  suitable for their needs.

Disabled-friendly homes are, by design, cheaper and easier to adapt than other homes: installing a stair lift in a Lifetime Home can cost as little as £2,500, but if the wall by the stairs is not strong enough, the cost of replacing or reinforcing the wall could be five or ten times that. If a bathroom is big enough for a wheelchair to fit into by design, the only cost to adapt the home may be around £300 to install grab bars. Whereas if the doorway needs to be widened and the wall needs to be strengthened, costs could easily be 30 times higher.

For further information, please read our report: No Place Like Home: 5 Million Reasons to Make Housing Disabled-Friendly (2014): <http://www.leonardcheshire.org/sites/default/files/no-place-like-home-leonard-cheshire-disabiltiy.pdf>.  

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