Disabled people facing longer waits for suitable homes, new figures suggest

22 May 2019, 07:19

Disabled sign

The number of disabled people on housing waiting lists has risen by almost 80% in the last two years, new research suggests.

At least 17,444 people are currently waiting for housing suitable for their disabilities, up 79.58% from the 9,714 reported in a similar study in 2017.

The average wait for an appropriate home ranges from four days in West Dunbartonshire to 6,193 days in Edinburgh.

The figures were obtained by freedom of information requests by the Scottish Conservatives, who say they are proof Scotland has a "housing crisis".

Scottish Conservative shadow social security secretary Michelle Ballantyne said: "The SNP pretends to be sincere when it comes to helping people with disabilities.

"But these facts expose the reality of the situation.

"Not only are there far too many disabled people waiting for the right housing, that number has nearly doubled in just the last two years.

"It proves the SNP has taken its eye off the ball domestically and allowed a housing crisis to affect the country's most vulnerable people.

"The Scottish Government clearly isn't giving councils the resources they need to address this problem."

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "Everybody should have the right to live independently.

"We want disabled people in Scotland to have choice, dignity and freedom to access suitable homes, built or adapted to enable them to participate as full and equal citizens.

"We have recently published new practical guidance for local authorities, which will support the delivery of more wheelchair accessible housing.

"The guidance requires local authorities to set targets across all housing tenures for the delivery of wheelchair-accessible homes and to report annually on progress. "

He added: "We're also working with health and social care partnerships, disability organisations and the housing sector to ensure those in need of adaptations to their home can access services.

"I have made it clear to local authorities and housing associations that grant subsidy flexibilities in the Affordable Housing Supply Programme should be seen as a catalyst to deliver more specialist housing where it is needed."