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More wheelchair adapted properties

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
More wheelchair adapted properties
MORE disabled people will have the chance of a new affordable home after housing chiefs set a target of building eight new wheelchair-adapted properties each year.

Dumfries and Galloway Council worked on a housing need and demand assessment (HNDA), which has underlined the need for more wheelchair-accessible properties.
This comes at a time when disabled rights charity Inclusion Scotland is campaigning about lack of adapted properties for wheelchairs users, and the slow rate of suitable houses being built.
The council and its housing association partners are currently developing plans to spend almost £62m of Scottish Government funding over the next three years on creating many more houses for social rent.
Ensuring that people in wheelchairs are catered for is a priority.
This issue is covered in the annual review of the council’s strategic housing investment plan (SHIP), which will be discussed by councillors at the economy and resources committee next Tuesday.
The review document reads: “The HNDA has identified there is a need to provide additional social rented wheelchair accessible properties through SHIP developments.
“Physical features of these homes would include low level appliances, wider door openings, barrier free bathrooms and ramped access.
“The need for these can be identified via waiting list information and also in the public consultation phase prior to project delivery.
“In light of the expected demographic changes, the need for wheelchair adapted social housing properties is a total of 125 units by 2035.
“To deliver this, a target of building eight new wheelchair accessible units on an annual basis has been set for the region.”
As it stands, there are 56 wheelchair adapted social housing properties across the region. Wheatley Homes have 26, Loreburn Housing Association have 18, and Cunninghame Housing Association have 12.
The target of building eight more each year seems very realistic – as 28 were built in 2021/22, followed by a further 28 in 2022/23.
On its website, charity Inclusion Scotland underlines the levels of wheelchair accessible housing provision across the country.
It states: “At current rates of build, it will take us 95 years to meet the current unmet housing needs of wheelchair users and 174 years to meet their projected needs.
“Many disabled people in Scotland do not live in a home that meets their needs. There is a severe shortage of accessible and adapted houses to buy or rent in Scotland and this can prevent disabled people living independently, working, accessing the support they need and being included in their communities.”


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