- Date: 21/09/2023
More accommodation is needed for disabled people facing homelessness
Our homelessness charity, Concrete, works with over 150 men, women and young people impacted by homelessness across Stoke-on-Trent.
This month, we're calling out for more suitable accommodation for people who are both homeless and affected by a physical disability. This includes hidden and undiagnosed disabilities.
A recent report from The Conversation highlighted that while disabled people represent 22% of the overall UK population, they may represent up to 39% of the homeless population, according to a recent study from the University of York.
These figures go hand in hand with more data from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Stats released this summer revealed that the number of people eligible for homelessness support in England, such as emergency accommodation, because of a disability, rose by 73% from 2018 to 2022.
These numbers could be higher still, as they don’t include people facing ‘hidden homelessness.’ This refers to those who are sofa surfing or not able to qualify for support and therefore hidden from official figures.
Stoke-based Concrete has seen this rise first hand. Operations Manager Mariana Sabova said that the charity has seen an increase in the number of disabled homeless people approaching them for support in recent years.
She explained: “Homelessness does not have a type, absolutely anyone could be affected – that includes people with extra support needs, like physical disabilities.
“At Concrete we are finding ourselves meeting more and more people who are disabled and homeless. In recent years the number of disabled people that we work with has risen. Last year we supported 63 people with disabilities, an increase of 3% on the previous year.
“We know, from sector research, that inadequate housing, for example not being wheelchair accessible, can have a negative impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. It can lead to the deterioration of existing conditions, or even the start of new ones.
“Not having a home is difficult enough. You come across so many different barriers and prejudices. When you have health conditions, it makes things even harder.
“As a charity we’re committed to providing the best support that we can. Our teams work hard to deliver housing and support that is suitable for people of all needs, but in order to achieve this, more accessible housing is needed.
“We need to see more homes with suitable adaptations that lead to barrier free living. Supported housing with adapted en-suite rooms and kitchens, wider spaces, larger doors, accessible ramps and lots of outdoor space.”
Find out more about Concrete by visiting thisisconcrete.org.uk