Your Home Truths
Since the launch of Home Truths in July 2014, we have been overwhelmed by the response. Below are a few of the comments we have received. We will keep pushing this campaign until we see the government commit to all new builds being disabled-friendly.
Impact on family and friends
Some people contacted us to tell us what it means for friends and family when you don't have a disabled-friendly home.
‘If my mum had been able to have a house adapted, she could've stayed with dad. Instead she had to go into a care home. After being married for so many years, the separation was unbearable. Within a year I lost them both.’
‘As a person with a disability, I am unable to visit friends and family because their homes are typically inaccessible.
‘I am also concerned that as I and others age (I'm still young at 70), the only place we can live is in a senior home facility (if we are lucky!) or a convalescent home which will be expensive and a place to die, not live.’
‘I myself had to wait nine years, with young children, for a suitable home. I also had to be washed at the kitchen sink and used a commode. Dignity is not taken into consideration. The situation ruined our lives as a young family. It was only when we got a solicitor involved that things started to move in the correct direction.’
Benefits of disabled-friendly homes
Others got in touch to say how their homes had been adapted to make them disabled-friendly.
‘My Housing Trust and the council paid £30,000 for a small extension at the back of our rented house for my bedroom and wet room. It is so tiny but I am grateful. A disabled bungalow would have been great but when I asked about a four-bedroom bungalow the social worker just laughed at me and said there about a handful of one- or two-bedroom bungalows in Liverpool! I am so lucky to get my little extension as I know many people don't get anything to help them.’
‘I live in a “lifetime” home , which means it totally accessible for disabled living, i.e. lift, wet room, etc. Living in this type of home means you don't have to move when/if disability or ill health affects you. Let’s see more of these properties built and therefore help people like us be given “quality of life” experienced by able-bodied people.’
‘My husband became disabled and we had to use all our savings, and also borrow money, to pay for an extension. We have paid over £25,000 just for my husband to be able to sleep and shower downstairs.’
Difficulties in finding disabled-friendly homes
But overwhelmingly many people told us how hard it is to find a disabled-friendly home in the first place.
‘I'm a disabled person stuck in supported housing I was supposed to vacate after two years. Three years and over fifty bids for social housing later, I'm still stuck here due to the lack of disabled-friendly homes in my area.’
‘I am a local politician, and I get many cases in my mail [about] inappropriate houses. Many of my residents who live in social housing complain about the difficulty in finding appropriate housing, so they live in a small part of the properties they are living in.’
‘I’m disabled and lived for two and half years sleeping downstairs, washing at kitchen sink, until I hit 55. Then I was allowed to apply for an old people bungalow with few adapted things to help me.’
‘I was in exactly the same position [as Sue] and worse for over four years, having to use a commode to get around the house as well as for toilet needs and also had to wash at kitchen sink. We had to make ourselves homeless before we got proper accommodation, there is no proper plan for those who have life-changing events.’
‘I am also disabled and have been unable to access them upstairs part of my home for their last five years. I sleep on my sofa. My children use them upstairs but if there was an emergency upstairs I could not get to them to help. More ground level homes are needed to help people like us. Especially four-bedroom bungalows as there are no social housing ones in my city apart from them ones to buy, and these are impossible to get unless you win them flipping lotto or are extremely well off — which we are not!’
Carlene is a wheelchair user and lives with her husband who is hearing impaired and blind. They live in a bungalow designed for older people but it isn’t disabled-friendly or wheelchair accessible. Carlene isn’t able to get her wheelchair into her kitchen and so can’t even cook a meal for herself or her husband. Her current landlord classes that as adequate, but who wants to live in an adequate home?