What a sad story in the Guardian today showing just how bad the accessible housing crisis is for wheelchair users. A 10-year-old boy has been living on an acute NHS medical ward for nearly a year despite being well enough to be discharged because the local council has failed to find appropriate accommodation for his homeless family.
Sadly this is a story we know only too well, as we are dealing with individuals and families in similar dire situations all the time.
As Helen Pidd, the Editor for the Guardian says “The cost of an “excess bed stay “in the NHS is £346 per day, which means that due to the young boys disability and the families living conditions the young boy’s unnecessary 11-month hospitalisation has cost taxpayers at least £115,000.There are three-bedroom homes that would suit the family near the hospital, currently on the private rental market for £850 per month (£10,200 a year).However, Manchester city council has been unable to find Ahmed a suitable home for 11 months”
This is of course unacceptable, however, we do understand how difficult the search is for accessible properties, specifically those for wheelchair users. The facts speak clearly for themselves. There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. That’s staggering 1 in five of the population. Yet only 7 % of homes in England are accessible, which equates to 4/5 disabled people living in unsuitable homes. There is a massive gap between what is needed and what is available.
The fact that people with disabilities face discrimination is never more obvious than when we start searching for houses or flats that provide adequate wheelchair access or safe living for those with other specific needs.
We are ‘The Accessibility Specialists’ and we have helped over 100 individuals into safe and independent living. At Branch Properties, we start with the assumption that full accessibility in the housing market is essential and a basic right. We work with clients, so they can move into a home in which they can live with the same level of comfort and security as those who do not have disabilities.
We are an independent property agency with a specialist department whose sole purpose it to meet accommodation needs of disabled people. Our specialism is to make a difference by supporting and benefiting vulnerable and disabled people who are excluded from full housing choices. We have already achieved considerable success. Known as ‘The Accessibility Specialists’ we understand the difficulties created by the lack of accessible housing, the crisis surrounding this, and the inequality this creates.
We have worked with many individuals and families that are in similar situations to this family’s.
Those who have a disabled child and the bathroom is on the second floor, meaning the child has to carry them who uses a wheelchair – up and down the stairs.
We also have clients who have had an accident and overnight their life changes. When it comes to the time they need to go home, they can’t, as they can’t even get in their own front door. Every four hours someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury, so this is a reality for many. Many disabled people are confined to their front room, unable to go upstairs to the bathroom, or put their kids to bed. Imagine that. The pressure on the entire family is just unimaginable during this time.
We have already successfully found homes for many individuals and families across the country. A key to our success is our ability to work collaboratively with individuals and professionals. We currently only work in and around London, but the crisis is national and we are expanding our UK presence
Do you or someone you know need help finding suitable accessible housing? We can help, so please do get in touch with us on 020 3475 4022 or www.branchproperties.co.uk
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