National Housing Strategy for Disabled People
In 2022 the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022-2027 was published. The strategy is a follow on from the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016 which was later extended to 2020.
The National Housing Strategy for Disabled People is a high-level document and places a greater emphasis on independent living and community inclusion than the previous strategy. It is based on the principles of the UNCRPD and has a focus on universal design.
The strategy places an emphasis on disabled people having choice and control over their living arrangements. It contains six themes:
- Accessible housing and communities
- Interagency collaboration and the provision of supports
- Affordability of housing
- Communication and access to information
- Knowledge, capacity, and expertise
- Strategy alignment
Work has now commenced on the Implementation Plan for the Strategy, and this will be completed in 2022. We look forward to the development of this Plan, which will be critical in identifying practical next steps to achieve progress under the six themes outlined above.
The Strategy will operate within the overall framework of Housing for All (see below)
We participated at all stages of the consultation and provided feedback on all drafts of the new strategy. We also sat on the National Advisory Committee for the development of the strategy chaired by the Housing Agency. Our advice aimed to ensure that Universally Designed housing was included in the Strategy.
Housing for All
In 2021 the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage published Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland. This is the Government’s housing plan to 2030. It is a multi-annual, multi-billion euro plan which will improve Ireland’s housing system and deliver more homes of all types for people with different housing needs.
The overall framework of Housing for All is committed to ensuring that affordable, quality housing with an appropriate mix of housing design types provided within social housing, including universally designed units, is available to everyone in Irish society, including those with disabilities and older people.
The NDA made a submission to the Department during the development of this plan. We emphasised that the main priority should be that the planning, design and building of all homes following a Universal Design approach needed to have greater prominence than given in the Programme for Government. We repeated our recommendation that Part M is reviewed and amended to properly incorporate Universal Design.
We also highlighted the existence of targets already set out in the Department’s Housing Options for Our Ageing Population: Policy Statement.
We also highlighted the difficulties faced by potential tenants with disabilities when trying to find accommodation. We asked that landlords be better informed about disability and that a register of accessible properties be developed.
Housing Options for Our Ageing Population: Policy Statement
The Departments of Housing and Health jointly published Housing Options for Our Ageing Population: Policy Statement in 2019. For the first time a Government document contained a figure for the number of Universal Design homes to be built In Ireland.
Action 4.6 says: ‘In partnership with industry, introduce measures to ensure that over a five year period delivery is increased to ensure that 30% of all new dwellings are built to incorporate universal design principles to accommodate our ageing population.’
The NDA recommends that the 30% of all new dwellings being built as Universal Design homes should split as follows: 20% UD and 10% UD+.