Housing crisis has 'devastating' impact on disabled people

Housing crisis has 'devastating' impact on disabled people

A charity has highlighted the "devastating" impact that the housing crisis is having on disabled people in England, with some being forced to choose between struggling in an unsuitable property or racking up huge debts attempting to adapt it.

Muscular Dystrophy UK, which compiled the report, said there is an alarming lack of accessible housing in many parts of the country.

It found that some councils in England have more than 100 households waiting for wheelchair-accessible homes.

The charity said that a lack of wheelchair-accessible housing is having a "devastating impact on households".

Cases it has seen include a 61-year-old man who has a muscle-wasting condition and cannot afford to adapt his bathroom, meaning he has been unable to have a shower or a bath for a year.

It also highlighted the case of a 15-year-old boy with a life-limiting condition, whose family were left with £15,000-worth of credit card debt after adapting their home.

Some parents were having to carry their children upstairs due to their property being inaccessible, the charity said.

Between July and August 2015, the charity carried out a survey of people living with muscle-wasting conditions, to find out about their experiences of getting accessible housing and carrying out adaptations to their home.

It also submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to local authorities in England, to find out what support was being offered.

The Breaking Point report surveyed nearly 300 people who had been offered a home by their council - of which 70% said the property was unsuitable. Over a third said they had faced serious financial hardship trying to adapt their home.

FOI requests made by the charity to councils in England found that in Harlow, for example, 166 households were waiting for wheelchair-accessible homes, while in Camden this figure was 122 and in the Blackburn with Darwen council area 155 households were found to be waiting.

The charity is calling for local authorities to act urgently, with the help of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It said they should ensure that at least 10% of all new houses within new developments are wheelchair accessible.

It said the maximum grant of £30,000 to make a home liveable in has not increased since 2008, meaning that many people are facing spending thousands of pounds of their own money to adapt basic facilities.

Nic Bungay, director of campaigns, care and information for Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: "People are being forced to choose between struggling in a home they cannot use or getting into vast sums of debt in order to adapt their property themselves...

"For too long, local authorities have failed to ensure that new developments include enough wheelchair-accessible housing."

A DCLG spokeswoman said: "The Government is committed to helping disabled people live as comfortably and independently as possible in their own homes.

"We have invested just over £1 billion through the Disabled Facilities Grants since 2010 to fund adaptations to homes. This has helped thousands of disabled people live safely at home, funding around 170,000 adaptations, but we are always listening to the sector to see how we can best provide for those most in need.

"We are also getting Britain building again with more than 570,000 new homes built since April 2010."

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The most expensive rental property in the UK
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Housing crisis has 'devastating' impact on disabled people

Audley House, a Grade II Listed Georgian property, is on the rental market for an astonishing £780,000 a year - or £15,000 a week, making one of the UK's most expensive rental properties.

It is estimated the bills will come to a whopping £125,000 a year, on top of the rent.

The six-storey mansion is spread out over 8,346 sq/ft and is worth approximately £35million. 

However, you need not worry about walking up all those flights of stairs as there is a private passenger lift with access to all floors.

The luxurious property is set in the heart of Mayfair.

Comfort cooling, state-of-the-art security and audio-entertainment technology are incorporated throughout the Mayfair mansion. 

The property features five VIP bedrooms suites.

Each of the luxurious bedrooms are decorated in different coloured decor.

At 1,500 sq ft the master bedroom is bigger than the average British home.

The mansion also features four reception rooms,a family kitchen, a gym and private walled gardens.  

The stunning six-storey property comes fully furnished with luxurious furniture, fixtures and fittings and is ready for tenants to move in.

Like all rental properties, interested tenants will be asked to hand over a six week deposit and the first month's rent before they move in. 

The property comes with a five year contract meaning tenants will end up handing over £3.9million to the landlord.

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