You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the UK is facing an accessible housing crisis.
In social housing alone, more than 50% of tenants have a long term illness and impairment with a similar number who need an adaptation not having it.
Add to the equation that 1million households waiting for social housing(1).
And less than 10% of UK houses are deemed ‘accessible”(2).
The wait for adaptations has reached “devastating” levels of delay.
It begs the question: are we going about it in the wrong way?
Is there a better, quicker way to convert inaccessible homes into accessible ones?
The core criterium of the most basic level of accessible homes (Category 1, Building Regulations Approved Document M) is that ”reasonable provision should be made for people to gain access to, and use, the dwelling and its facilities”.
The Government has pledged to make all new build homes “accessible and adaptable”, but new build is not keeping up with demand, and the legislation does not affect existing homes.
So, if the rule of thumb is that outlined above- reasonable provision for people to gain access to and use the home- do you have a way that can be achieved, quickly, easily, cost-effectively?
I would claim there is: a stairclimber.
This one piece of portable mobility equipment overcomes any barriers of steps, stairs, non-level thresholds.
Almost all local authorities have at least one already in their equipment. If not one to hand, the social housing provider or private individual can get one within a working week of order.
In a social housing environment, when no longer needed by one user, you can “re-issue’- give it to someone else, to help them access the home and regain independent living thus helping achieve best value.
A stairclimber requires no installation. This is especially important in flats, which now account for 20% of our housing stock, with their common parts and the need to give all residents safe use of stairways.
All you need is assessment of the client and their carer by an appropriate professional. This ensures they are capable and comfortable using the equipment, and training of the carer in its safe operation.
With a stairclimber, you manage the risk of the client or their carer falling whilst trying to negotiate varying levels, steps, stairs.
The equipment itself has an impeccable safety record and is proven by some 20 years’ use in the UK with thousands in daily use across the country.
So, is it time for a step change in how we view ways to make housing accessible?
As I’ve outlined above, it isn’t hard. It just requires an email, phone call, or mouse click to start the process: