Credit: Equalities and Human Rights Commission
Credit: Equalities and Human Rights Commission

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), in partnership with Habinteg, has launched a new toolkit for people involved in housing and planning in local authorities in England.

‘Housing and disabled people: A toolkit for local authorities in England’ provides information, checklists, questionnaires and best practice examples for the provision and management of housing adaptations.

It is primarily aimed at leaders and practitioners in housing, adult social care, occupational therapists and tenant engagement teams.

The new toolkit comes following a report earlier this year by EHRC which found that there is a lack of accessible housing across England, with figures revealing that only 7 percent of homes in England offer minimal accessibility features.

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Sheron Carter, Habinteg’s Chief Executive, said: “Our mission is not simply to provide accessible homes and environments ourselves, we want to encourage others to do the same.

“We are delighted to have partnered with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to produce toolkits which provide free, practical advice for councils to enable them to deliver quality housing which is inclusive for disabled people.”

One of the key points within the document outlines that providing clear information about home adaptations and funding is essential for addressing present and future housing needs and that this information should be presented in a range of formats.

The toolkit also provides a question and answer style sheet for people to use to find out how adaptations are promoted in their area. Example questions include: “Is information about adaptations available on your website?”; “Do you promote the home improvement agencies in your area?” and “Do you have designated, trained staff or partner organisations to help people identify and access adaptations?”

Similarly, EHRC provides a table about delivering adaptations and gives some suggestions for actions to carry out. For instance, for the question: “How long do people wait for adaptations from first enquiry to installation?” EHRC suggests: “Conduct an end-to-end review of delivery times from point of assessment to installation.”

The toolkit also proposes different ways to form relationships with key people such as private landlords and wider stakeholders as a way to improve the provision and management of housing adaptations.

One of the final pieces of information the document provides is a checklist to assess whether there are untapped sources of funding or links that can be made between sources to help the delivery of adaptations services in the person’s area. Questions in the checklist include: “Do housing authorities and registered providers contribute towards adaptations?” and “Do you have a specific policy under the RRO to allow you to provide discretionary assistance?”

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