Wherever I lay my hat must be safe and accessible
Tressa Burke says poor housing is a reality for too many disabled people in Glasgow
Choosing a home is one of the biggest decisions we'll make. There are so many factors to consider – type of house, how many rooms and of course – location, location, location.
What for many people is an exciting time is often a nightmare for disabled people.
Disabled peoples' choice of where to live is severely restricted due to the lack of accessible and adapted housing.
How many more people are in a similar situation – poor health, terrible housing situation and no support?
When life becomes stressful, having a home that is a haven takes on even greater importance.
One of our members, Marya can especially relate to this. Marya has various health issues which were compounded by her stressful housing situation – her house was struck by lightning rendering the kitchen not only dysfunctional, but dangerous.
On top of this she was unable to put the Self Direct Support package she had been awarded into place due to the state of her house.
Poor health, terrible housing situation and no support. What would you do?
Thankfully Marya's situation improved as she was able to get involved with GDA's My Choices project which paid for professional joiners to install a new kitchen which she’d managed to buy already.
Marya should not have had to wait for a one off project such as My Choices. How many more people are in a similar situation – poor health, terrible housing situation and no support?
The second right for independent living is a right to accessible and adapted housing.
To make this right become a reality we need to Increase the proportion and number of barrier free houses available in Glasgow and raise awareness of barriers facing disabled people in relation to housing and how these interact with other challenges which disabled people encounter.
Glasgow Disability Allicance (GDA) is also going to explore solutions by bringing together disabled people and housing providers such as through imminent events in Glasgow with GDA, the Wheatley Group and Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations.
Finally, we provide accessible information to disabled people about housing rights and help is available through Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living’s Housing Information Service.
Tressa Burke is chief executive of Glasgow Disability Alliance.