Accessible Housing

At current rates of build, it will take us 95 years to meet the current unmet housing needs of wheelchair users and 174 years to meet their projected needs. 

Many disabled people in Scotland do not live in a home that meets their needs. There is a severe shortage of accessible and adapted houses to buy or rent in Scotland and this can prevent disabled people living independently, working, accessing the support they need and being included in their communities.

  • 86,000 households in Scotland that include a disabled person need an adaptation but do not have one.
  • 68,000 households in Scotland include a disabled person who has great difficulty getting up and down the stairs.
  • 53,000 households in Scotland include a disabled person who struggle to access or use the bath/shower.
  • 21,000 households in Scotland include a disabled person who can’t leave their house because of stairs to the house.

Our evidence

Over 120 disabled people came to our Annual Disabled people’s Summit in 2016, which was dedicated to discussing housing for disabled people, they told us in no uncertain terms that they face numerous barriers to finding the right home which included:

  • Experiencing injury or ill-health directly as a result of being inaccessibly housed.
  • Waiting years for a suitable house or adaptation.
  • Being stuck in hospital as a delayed discharge, in residential care against their will or being inappropriately discharged into an inaccessible home.
  • Finding it impossible to find an accessible home to buy.
  • Facing problems getting an adaptation.
  • Having problems adapting a private let.

Their experiences and views about what needed to change can be seen in the summit report Our Place: Our Space.

The year-long statutory inquiry in 2018 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into accessible and adapted housing for disabled people in Scotland found that:

  • Disabled people are demoralised and frustrated by the housing system due to a severe shortage of accessible and adapted houses that they can rent or buy.
  • Installing home adaptations involves unacceptable bureaucracy and delay.
  • Disabled people are not getting the support that they need to live independently.

This inquiry highlighted what disabled people have been telling us and other Disabled People’s Organisations for over 20 years – that finding a house in Scotland that meets their needs can be fraught with difficulty.

In short: a failure to build, adapt and allocate enough accessible homes across Scotland puts needless strain on disabled people, their carers, and generates avoidable cost for health and social care services. It prevents disabled people’s full contribution to society and their participation in the economic and social life of their communities.

Our Action

With the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living and some of our partners on the Scottish Government’s Accessible Housing working group, Inclusion Scotland had called for a national 10% target for the provision of wheelchair accessible homes in developments over 20 units across tenure in Scotland. 

After many years and a lot of work with disabled people and Disabled People’s Organisations, including a national Summit hosted by an Inclusion Scotland project – Our Place Our Space, the Scottish Government released a new Housing Strategy, Housing to 2040.