The long wait for a home — councils are failing disabled people

19 April 2015

Rosanna Singlerby Rosanna Singler

Today we publish new research into the long wait that many disabled people face when they desperately need adaptations to their homes.

The report, The Long Wait for a Home, reveals that, shockingly, these delays are the result of breaches in the law by local councils.

Last year, two councils in three (62%) failed to pay for agreed adaptations at least once within the one-year time limit set out in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

StephanWhile that may sound technical, the results are anything but. They result in people like Stephan waiting for seven years for a home he can get around in his electric wheelchair. 

When he moved out of residential care into his current home, he hoped and expected to be able to live independently. Instead, seven years later, he cannot get into his kitchen to prepare his own dinner, and is unable to have visitors because he can’t close the bathroom door with his wheelchair inside.

And Stephan is only one of 2,500 disabled people who waited more than a year for an adaptation last year alone.

So what needs to change?

Firstly, councils must guarantee that no disabled person waits longer than 18 months for essential adaptations to their home. In many cases, the payments should be made much more quickly.

We are also calling for more funding for adaptations from both local and national government. The current shortages in funding leave people like Adam being refused funding for vital adaptations that they desperately need.

Adam unable to get into his home using his wheelchair due to a stepFor Adam, this lack of funding has left him crawling up the stairs, and hanging on to the furniture for almost ten years — dramatically increasing the risk of having an accident.

Finally, all new homes must be built to Lifetime Homes standards while allow homes to be adapted easily and cheaply as disabled people need.

Read more about Stephan, Adam and others in the full report, The Long Wait for a Home.

To find out the shocking lack of disabled-friendly homes in your area, visit our new website, Can't Move.

Rosanna Singler is Policy Officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability.


My Wife Sally has been Housebound for nearly 3Yrs due to the Doors of our Council Home being to Narrow for a Wheelchair to fit through add this to the fact she is not able to access the Shower or Bedroom which are both upstairs, instead she has to be Washed using a Bowl and Flannel and Sleeps in the Armchair she is basically confined to. Our Council has said about us moving to another Property that has already been Adapted but when I asked them about it they said there were None available and it may be Years before any are because we would have to go on the Housing Waiting list, they also said about an Extension consisting of a Bedroom and Wet Room but then said it would probably cost to much so at this moment we are waiting to hear from them with a decision.

I am a wheelchair user following a stroke, and was fortunate in that one of my close friends is an architect. She designed the conversion of the bungalow in which I now live.
I am really lucky in that I do not have to depend on local authorities.
I am sure that if I had ha to wait for a local authority conversion, I should still be waiting.

Myself and my business partner are currently seeking funding for a new business venture developing homes for people with disability or sensory impairment, primarily in the Northwest, but eventually nationwide. Our aim is to produce high quality assisted-living homes and/or temporary dwellings to private buyers, local authorities and charities nationwide. I'd love to view any feedback on this and will include any constructive comments within our buisness proposal. The subject of disability is very close to our hearts due to my father's condition - MS, and my business partner's condition Muscular Dystrophy. If anybody would like to contact us with their views, stories or progress, we would love to hear from you. I can be contacted at In the meantime, I wish you every success in the future and hope that one day you will be able to enjoy one of our innovative assisted-living homes. Best Regards, Dan Felstead

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