Disabled people have the chance to help push for urgent housing improvements across Scotland, thanks to a partnership between the Scottish government and two leading disability organisations.
The partnership programme was launched this week by Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL) and Capability Scotland, with the first of seven consultation events to be held over the next few months for disabled people who have experienced housing problems.
There will also be a national survey asking disabled Scots about the barriers that prevent them accessing suitable housing, the priorities for action from the Scottish government, and other questions such as whether they can access every part of their own home.
Etienne d’Aboville, GCIL’s chief executive, said housing was the “cornerstone” of independent living, because “if you cannot get in and out of your home you don’t get very far with everything else”.
He said the programme would link in with the independent living work the Scottish government was doing alongside local authorities and Scotland’s independent living movement.
D’Aboville said he expects disabled people who take part to raise issues such as the lack of choice in accessible housing, the failure of councils to provide joined-up systems providing information on the availability of accessible properties, and the difficulty of securing adaptations to private rented accommodation.
He said there was a need for many more accessible properties to be built “to the right standards”, following the recent slump in house-building.
D’Aboville said he was optimistic that the Scottish government would listen to what disabled people said in the consultation.
He said: “The limits will be about what is politically acceptable and how much money there is, but in terms of the will and intent to progress our agenda, I do think we have a very good chance of being listened to.”
The consultation results will feed into a conference next year and will help GCIL and Capability Scotland to influence future housing policy and legislation.