Habinteg Report: Living Not Existing

Back to Resources

Habinteg Report: Living Not Existing

Habinteg have launched their latest report titled "Living not existing: The economic and social value of wheelchair user homes."

Habinteg Living Not Existing Report AccessiblePRS

Habinteg, the Commissioners behind the Report

Habinteg Housing Association is a registered social housing provider with 50 years’ experience building and promoting accessible homes and communities. Their website states that they own and manage more than 3300 homes and operate in 86 local authorities across England and Wales. Despite being a leading advocate and campaigner for wheelchair accessible housing, their homes are a mix of, what's called, general needs housing and homes to different standards of accessibility. By no means are all of their homes are M4(3) wheelchair accessible.  

Habinteg has a number of strings to its corporate bow, and they're a leading campaigning organisation for wheelchair accessible housing posting on social media under the hashtag #ForAccessibleHomes. They use their platform and reach to raise awareness of some of the issues around the lack of wheelchair accessible housing in the UK. To occupy this platform is a big responsibility, because people in Government and property / housing organisations, who aren't familiar with the issues facing wheelchair accessible housing, look to them as the authoritative voice on the subject. It is always limiting if only once voice is sought.

Habinteg's report: Living Not Existing

Habinteg's report (by London School of Economics researchers) is a relatively short and useful rewriting of the narrative: not enough wheelchair accessible homes; we need to create more. Many more. 

For AccessiblePRS, a business created to catalyse accessibility and inclusion in the mainstream housing sector, Habinteg's facts and data are a useful tool, as the data mining and case studies go some way to validating what we all know: there is a crisis of supply for wheelchair accessible homes, that's avoidably expensive for the State and the NHS, as well as having negative impacts on the wheelchair users living in unsuitable properties.

The data is accepted by organisations that require data evidence. A first question I am always asked by investors and developers is: "Is there really a demand?" (Followed up by "...because we don't see it.) I love answering this question in meetings because what campaigners don't do so well is tell the stories behind the stats or understand the disparate dots in the housing sector to explain why things don't work and how we can join them up to solve the housing issues. So Habinteg and others have the gift of influence, if they choose to use it.

Their headline figures make urgent reading:
400,000 wheelchair users in England are living in unsuitable accommodation.
20,000 estimated to be on local authority waiting lists for a wheelchair user home.
Data gathered via FoI and published in January 2023 [shows] that a wheelchair user joining a local authority waiting list could have to wait up to 47 years to be offered a suitable new-build property.

So what next?

The report provides further context to the issues, though doesn't actually provide the solutions or pathways forward. I've often noted how we appear to need data to do what we intuitively know needs doing. This report provides data that has been extrapolated from various assumptions. It's useful to reaffirm that it makes absolute sense to integrate a greater number of M4(3) wheelchair accessible homes into housing - as a normalised and familiar standard. I can, and do, talk to this from any perspective.

AccessiblePRS will continue to bring our solutions-driven, commercially and pragmatically minded approach to joining the disparate dots in housing to address the challenges. Others looking to solve wheelchair accessible housing issues would do well to stay focussed on solutions, rather than the problems. We all know the problems and have known them for a long time. To ask anyone, business, government or third sector to change their way, often means showing them a way, and ensuring that that way is feasible and cognisant of unintended consequences. 

One factor which I urge challengers to heed, is look for solutions that are IN-clusive and stop creating visions and aspirations which further separate and exclude wheelchair users. Quite apart from being unrealistic and unworkable, they reinforce the idea that people with disabilities should be treated separately and differently: this isn't what healthy and resilient communities and society looks like.
Habinteg Living Not Existing Report AccessiblePRS
Or download the Habinteg Report.

Click on the image to read, download & share - How it views when you click on it will depend on your browser settings.

And to discuss this further...

Contact us to learn more about how we work with clients to deliver resilient housing, whether your business relates to housing supply or process or whether you're a story-teller wanting to know more about narrative in this space or whether your public or private sector.