New Housing Strategy for Disabled People must deliver - Pauline Tully TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers, Pauline Tully TD, has cautiously welcomed the new Housing Strategy for Disabled People but says that commitments must be supported by adequate resourcing, including financial, and outcomes must be delivered.
Teachta Tully said:
“Housing is a centrally important issue for disabled people.
“The right to a home and to adequate housing is one of the most fundamental human rights.
“It impacts all aspects of wellbeing, health, and participation in society.
“However, the experience of disabled people in terms of housing in recent years, according to the Disability Federation of Ireland, has been ‘one of frustration, difficulty, economic and bureaucratic struggle and limited, if any, choice’.
“Ireland signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2018.
“Article 19 of the UNCRPD asserts that disabled people’s right to live in the community, with choices equal to others, to full inclusion and participation in the community, and to the opportunity to choose their place of residence on an equal basis with others.
“Article 28 commits to an adequate standard of living for people with disabilities and their families, including adequate housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions.
“To ensure the realisation of these commitments, we need a strategy to work from.
“To be effective, this strategy needs to incorporate actions that have a timeframe, are fully costed and include a commitment from government in terms of resources, including financial resources.
“The previous Housing Strategy for Disabled People was published in 2011 and was originally only supposed to cover a period of five years.
“Despite securing some ‘individual improvements’, the Disability Federation of Ireland report that, ‘the strategy did not substantially improve the housing situation or options available to people with disabilities [and] many of the aims and objectives of the outgoing strategy are still quite relevant, as unfortunately they simply were not delivered.’
“The new strategy needs to articulate how and over what time period the government intends to transfer the approximately 3,000 people still living in congregated settings, and the roughly 1,300 people under the age of 65 who are inappropriately living in nursing homes.
“It needs to end the ridiculous situation where disabled people are not able to avail of a house offered by their local authority because of a lack of coordination with the HSE means they do not have the necessary independent living supports in place.
“It needs to incorporate a clear and robust process and assessment tool by which disabled people can apply, be assessed and be offered housing and independent living supports simultaneously.
“It needs to include the necessity of more wheelchair liveable housing and a commitment to review planning laws to ensure this happens.
“The strategy must recognise the additional cost of disability and commit to address this in policy.
“The strategy implementation plan is due to be published in June of this year.
“This plan needs to address these issues with fully costed, be timebound and have a commitment to resources, including financial resources.”