To mark Scottish Housing Day 2020 and its social housing theme, SCLD’s Evidence & Policy Officer Lorne Berkley explores the the role and potential of social housing in the lives of people with learning/intellectual disabilities in Scotland…
Over the last few months, we’ve all had to spend much more time at home. The response to the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we use our homes – increasingly they’ve become combined sites of work, education, childcare and leisure. In many ways, this enforced shift has underlined the necessity of genuinely accessible and affordable housing which offers each of us a safe, secure, warm and good quality home.
Unfortunately, we know that for significant numbers of people with learning/intellectual disabilities this is still not the reality.
Too many people continue to face real difficulties in accessing suitable housing and are denied meaningful choice about where they live, who they live with and the nature of the support they receive. People with the most complex needs face even greater challenges and can be forced to live in hospitals or other institutions far from home, due to a lack of suitable housing in their own communities.
Too many people continue to face real difficulties in accessing suitable housing and are denied meaningful choice about where they live, who they live with and the nature of the support they receive.
Social housing, available from local authorities or housing associations, can offer secure, affordable and accessible housing for people with learning/intellectual disabilities and should form a vital component in the suite of options available to them. In many areas, however, the availability of social housing remains an issue.
Increasing the availability of accessible and affordable housing in Scotland is critical; the Scottish Government’s plan to deliver 50,000 additional affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent (on track until the coronavirus pandemic hit) represents a significant step forward. It is imperative that people with learning disabilities see real benefit from this investment.
As we look to ‘build back better’ amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that housing allocation policies consider the particular needs of people with learning/intellectual disabilities and that new social housing is designed with their needs and preferences in mind. Consideration such as space for carers, accessible design, scope for adaptations and physical location can all be crucial to empowering people with learning/intellectual disabilities to live their best lives.
As we look to ‘build back better’ amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that housing allocation policies consider the particular needs of people with learning/intellectual disabilities…
At the start of this year, the Scottish Government’s vision for Housing to 2040 recognised everyone’s right to an adequate home. So what does this mean? In short, housing which is accessible, affordable, fit to live in, culturally suitable and with access to local services and transport links. Fulfilling this right is key in helping to ensure that everyone with a learning/intellectual disability is able to lead a full and healthy life in the community.
The availability of high quality social housing in Scotland has an important role to play in achieving this.
Evidence & Policy Manager, SCLD