Delays to housing adaptations is blighting disabled children’s lives

3 mins read

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Tags: disability, housing, disabled facilities grant, adaptations

A new investigation into Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) shows that there are long and growing waits for assessments and for adaptations to be completed in the homes of disabled children.

DFGs are grants to help with the costs of works to the home to make life easier, like installing a stair lift or building accessible bathroom facilities.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Disabling Homes project, found that families are turning to crowdfunding to pay for major adaptations to their homes, due to delays in getting the grants. Many have to live with reduced independence and dignity for years.

It backs up Contact’s #CountingtheCosts Decent Homes survey, which found poor housing is making disabled children’s health worse.

Inappropriate housing

Una Summerson, Contact’s Head of Policy, said: “This investigation reflects the findings of our Counting the Costs housing survey, which found that 41% of families with disabled children have a home that doesn’t meet their child’s needs and in many cases this is putting their child at risk.”

The BIJ’s investigation was shown on Channel 4 News last night. It featured a family from our Counting the Costs Decent Homes campaign.

Alexa Woodcock, whose 15-year-old son Finlay has cerebral palsy and is visually impaired, said: “We moved into a new house on 8 October.  I contacted the housing team to explain that we’d moved and that we didn’t have a stair lift, naively expecting support.

“I was told they were too busy and couldn’t assign an Occupational Therapist (OT). The bathroom is upstairs. During my son’s EHCP I discussed my concerns and my son’s OT organised a commode. For months my 15-year-old son had to go to the toilet in the kitchen and I carried him upstairs to shower him. I then had to bump him down the stairs on my knee. In February we thankfully got a stair lift, but we shouldn’t have had to wait for so long for something which is vital to the dignity and safety of Finlay and me. All the time, I was worried that if I hurt myself lifting him then I have no idea who will care for him.”

Alexa is trying to raise the funds needed to make significant adaptations so that Finlay can have the best home life possible. You can contribute to their GoFundMe here.

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