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# housing needs
People with disabilities 'more likely to be homeless than the general population'
‘Inadequate funding and resources’ are also creating barriers for people with disabilities when trying to find a suitable place to live.

“INADEQUATE FUNDING AND resources” are creating barriers for people with disabilities when trying to find a suitable place to live.

An “uneven” approach by Local Authorities is also creating difficulties.

That’s according to a report published today by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) and the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI).

The report, entitled ‘The Right Home: the Housing Needs of People with Disabilities’, has found that those with disabilities face significant challenges when it comes to finding a suitable home.

It also notes: “Many of the barriers, difficulties and issues identified in the report are, to varying degrees, connected with the issue of inadequate funding and resources.”

The report further adds: “Some Local Authorities do not have sufficient or adequately trained staff for the roles connected with managing the provision of accommodation for people with disabilities.”

While “Local Authorities have primary responsibility for, and are central to, delivering housing to disabled people”, the report found that the “approach to date by Local Authorities has been somewhat uneven in how supportive they are in facilitating the application process”.

“Some Local Authorities fail to take into account and cater for the particular needs of individuals with a disability by, in some instances, offering inappropriate options or choices,” it added.

The report also noted discrepancies with the level of consultation with people with disabilities: “The extent to which people with disabilities and their representatives have been and are involved in the development of strategic housing plans varies greatly, with some Local Authorities showing very positive approaches to participation while others are perceived as being somewhat weak in this regard.”

The level of information available and the manner in which it is passed on was also found to be lacking in some areas: “Some Local Authorities proactively encourage and support applications, others are seen as presenting obstacles to engagement.”

Data in the report also reveals that people with disabilities are more like to be homeless than the general population.

While 0.14% of the general population were homeless in 2016, this figure was 0.3% for persons with disabilities.

People with disabilities are also more likely to reside in communal establishments.

According to the 2016 census, 13.8% of disabled persons aged 65 and over were living in communal establishments, compared to 7.8% of non-disabled persons in the same age group.

‘Considerable gap’

The report also identified a “considerable gap between the policy aspirations and the reality of implementation of the first National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016 (extended to 2021)”.

The report’s authors say the new housing policy, which was launched in January of this year, requires “leadership, resourcing, support and direction at a national level”.

It adds: “It is clear that there will not be effective delivery of accommodation without the funding, support, guidance and monitoring of central government.”

There has also been a call to “strengthen collaboration and cooperation mechanisms at local and national level”.

Commenting on the report, DFI’s CEO John Dolan said: “We know that Ireland is currently dealing with a major housing crisis, but it is clear from this report that Disability housing is a crisis within a crisis, with disabled people having even less options than others in a very difficult housing market.

“While societal understanding of the needs and rights of disabled people has gradually improved, some assumptions persist that people with disabilities should be looked after by family or charities and, by implication, that they should remain dependent rather than become independent.

“This mindset has to change so that disabled people can access the same suite of housing options that are available to the general population – disability must be factored into all discussions and policy considerations on housing.”

Meanwhile, the CIB’s Chief Executive Fiona Coyne said: “This in-depth analysis has been borne out of the experience of our funded services, and of DFI’s membership in supporting people who have a disability with their housing needs.

“The report is timely as it coincides with the publication of the second National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022 – 2027 earlier this year, and just prior to the publication of the Implementation Plan.”

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