Ken, Boris... and Demos
3 September 2014
by Jane Harris
Today the influential think tank Demos has published a new report on the future of what they are calling ‘housing with care’.
Demos has recognised that disabled and older people should have a range of choices about where they live and what support they receive. That sounds like what we and others have been saying for years. But what’s new is that the report suggests the two could and should be separate choices.
In other words, you might choose to live in a house or flat that comes with care as part of the package, just as some people choose a house or flat with a garden or a gym on site. Or you might choose a house or flat that doesn’t come with care. Whichever you chose, it would be your home. You wouldn’t be living under any institutional ‘rules’ and your space would be yours to do with as you pleased.
This new idea could revolutionise the way we think about care and housing in future. Instead of thinking about someone ‘going into a care home’, we would think of people moving to a new home because it’s the best choice for them. They might make their choice based on the style of the building, the care provided on site, the location… or all these things.
But to make that choice possible for everyone we need more houses and flats everywhere to be disabled-friendly. So we're pleased today that Demos has backed our call for all new homes built from now to be disabled-friendly, with at least 10% fully wheelchair accessible. That's already the plan in London. It’s rare that Demos, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson agree on something but all three have recognised that for disabled people to have a decent quality of life, we need to build the right homes for all our futures.
Jane Harris is managing director of campaigns and engagement at Leonard Cheshire Disability. She tweets at @jane_harris77.