Disabled tenants refused home adaptations and encouraged to downsize
16th March 2015
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
A large number of disabled tenants in Walsall are experiencing problems when requiring major adaptations to their home, which a new working group is hoping to solve. Concerns were raised when tenants, such as those needing an accessible walk in shower, were told that Walsall Housing Group could not carry out the conversion work due to the property being under occupied. This, in turn, has meant that some disabled people have been encouraged to move and downsize, which many feel is unfair.
A local disabled couple are an example of this, as they were told that the housing group would not carry out a conversion as their three-bedroom house was under occupied. It is thought that the housing groups are reluctant to carry out the work required, as when the property is vacated, it can often be difficult to find tenants willing to live with the adaptations. This has meant in certain situations that wet rooms and disabled stair lifts have been ripped out in order to suit a new tenant, which is a large waste of money and resources.
System needs to be introduced to help cater for all needs
However, it is important that those with disabilities are not disregarded for these reasons. Local councillor Marco Longhi, health and social care scrutiny panel chair, corroborated with this, stating "If we are effectively using someone's disability to put them in a house that suits the current policy on under occupation that is wrong," during a recent meeting.
There have also been situations where disabled tenants have been living on the ground floor, despite having an upstairs in their home, highlighting the importance of striking a balance with the needs of different tenants. In order to improve this, it has been agreed that a working group should be introduced in order to explore alternatives with the help of affected tenants, housing providers and the council.
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