There are 14.1 million people with disabilities in England. In 2019 it was recorded that a quarter of those people rented social housing. Across all tenures, only 7% of homes in England offer minimal accessibility features. These statistics show that there is not enough accessible housing in England and that can have a real impact on the people with disabilities who live here.
Reports show that for disabled people not having accessible housing can cause; mobility problems, indignity from not being able to live independently, feelings of social isolation and anxiety, poorer mental health as well as making them four times less likely to be in work. So what changes can be made to make housing more accessible?
A simple but effective way to improve accessibility is to install handrails in key areas. Starting with communal areas like the path to the entrance of the block and then within the individual flats of those that need it. A handrail alone can make living independently significantly easier to achieve.
Manifestations on glass are another low-cost way to improve accessibility, especially for those who are visually impaired. Clearly marking glass can prevent potential accidents and injuries. Another way to support visually impaired people is to mark stairs and platforms with brightly coloured stickers or paint.
A lot of existing housing is inaccessible for a large portion of those living with disabilities however this is even worse for wheelchair users. An elevator system is crucial for blocks to be able to house those with wheelchairs and mobility issues.
Another thing that should be considered when creating accessible housing is entrances. At Warrior Doors we have developed a mobility scooter room door that could also function as the main communal entrance door. Mobility scooter room doors are wider allowing wheelchairs and scooters to enter with ease. They are also auto-operated and use a security sensor to determine when the user has fully gone through the doorway. They then close to shut out tailgaters. This allows the user to enter and exit the premises independently and safely.
Finally, ensure that there are ramps in place if you have stairs up to any entrances or areas that tenants may need access to. We have previously worked on a project where a ramp was required and although this is not a service that we provide ourselves we project managed the procurement and installation of one.
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