High level investigation will look at why disabled people's housing needs are woefully unmet
The housing crisis afflicting disabled people in Scotland is to be the subject of a major human rights investigation, TFN can reveal.
Thousands of disabled people are trapped in unsuitable homes where they can’t move around, get out, cook, wash or use the toilet or are forced to live in residential care or stay in hospital, which in turn drains NHS resources.
And the situation is only going to get worse as the population gets older.
The problem was the focus of a recent third sector summit, which heard calls for multi-agency action to defuse what was called a “ticking timebomb” of unsuitable housing.
Our new inquiry will determine why an estimated 17,000 wheelchair users in Scotland are still in significant housing need
Now the issue is to be subjected to in inquiry by the Equality Human Rights Commission Scotland (EHRS).
It will take a thorough look at the problem and will report to policy makers at the highest level.
The exact terms of the inquiry will be made known next week.
Alastair Pringle, EHRS national director, confirmed it is taking action.
He told TFN: “Housing is the cornerstone of independent living. Without an accessible and appropriate home disabled people are likely to have difficulty in accessing education, employment, or participating in their family or community’s life.
“The EHRC has unique powers to challenge discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights.
“Our new inquiry will determine why an estimated 17,000 wheelchair users in Scotland are still in significant housing need.
“We will use these powers to gather evidence and assess the current levels of provision, the reasons for the shortage of accessible homes, and the impact this has on disabled peoples freedom, choice and control.
“The EHRC recognise and applaud the excellent work that disabled people’s organisations like Glasgow Disability Alliance and Independent Living In Scotland and many others have done to raise awareness of the issues that disabled face in housing and fight for disabled peoples’ right to self determination.
“Our inquiry will build on this excellent work and assess what more needs to be done to ensure that disabled people in Scotland can live where and with whom they choose.”