16 Aug 2022

Irish Wheelchair Association launches annual housing campaign for disabled people in Carlow

Irish Wheelchair Association launches annual housing campaign for disabled people in Carlow

Think Ahead, Think Housing is an awareness campaign for disabled people in the county

The Irish Wheelchair Association has launched Think Ahead, Think Housing 2022, an annual campaign for more social housing for people with disabilities.

Think Ahead, Think Housing is an awareness campaign for disabled people in the county, encouraging them to think about the future and apply to Carlow County Council for housing if they will need it in the coming years.

According to Tony Cunningham, national director of housing at Irish Wheelchair Association:

“Think Ahead, Think Housing is for anyone with a disability in Carlow who wants to move out of home and begin their independent life or anyone who is worried about where they will end up living as they get older.

“Our campaign is encouraging and supporting people to apply to their local authority for housing sooner rather than later.”

“Across our membership we see that there is no wheelchair liveable housing available through private rental or local authorities,” said Tony.

“At Irish Wheelchair Association we are campaigning for change, but it is the responsibility of disabled people to apply to their local authority for social housing in order to be included in local authorities' new housing development plans, which will take a number of years to be completed.” 

“We know that in Carlow and across Ireland there isn’t just an accessible housing shortage, there is a complete absence of any wheelchair liveable housing options.

“As a result, across Ireland 1,300 young and middle-aged people with physical disabilities have been forced to live in nursing homes for older people because of the lack of accessible social housing.

“This cannot be the future and there is a lot of work to do locally and nationally for our housing campaign.”

In 2021 Irish Wheelchair Association was part of a successful campaign to have ‘wheelchair liveable accommodation’ included as an option on social housing application forms. 

According to Jean Coleman, Irish Wheelchair Association's national housing programme manager, it's the right time to apply for social housing.

"The government’s national housing strategy aims to increase the supply of social housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade through €4billion state funding per year.

“Also, for the first time, applicants can register their need for wheelchair liveable accommodation on their application form. Before 2021, it had not been possible for a disabled person to specifically include their accessibility requirements on their social housing application form.

“So, we are calling on people with disabilities who want a home of their own to contact their local authority for the new social housing application form," said Jean Coleman. 

“This was the first step of our housing campaign” according to Tony Cunningham.

"Now people can register their needs in their housing applications and local authorities and disability organisations can track the specific needs of people on our social housing waiting lists.

“At Irish Wheelchair Association we have even more ambitious plans to change Ireland’s outdated inaccessible building regulations. But we need disabled people who want to live independently to contact Carlow County Council, get included and be seen.

“We can only achieve change together. People with physical disabilities must be included in Ireland’s social housing strategy like never before” he said. 

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