Richmond AID – CALL TO ACTION for the July 2024 election

Disabled people have been disproportionally impacted by the Cost of Living crisis and austerity measures.

We want all our parliamentary candidates to commit to the following Calls for Action.

HOUSING

We want all parties to recognise that housing is in crisis and must be a priority for any government that is elected.

Issue Call to Action
There is not enough accessible housing.

 

We want the right to live independently: being able to shower, access our home, cook for ourselves. Our homes are inaccessible and they are not able to accommodate to our needs.

Introduce a requirement for all new build homes to meet M4 (2) accessibility standards and 10% to be wheelchair accessible.

Invest in building accessible social housing.

Social housing landlords are required to have a list of all available accessible housing stock.

Disabled people can’t get the adaptations they require to live a fulfilling and independent life.

 

The Disabled Facilities Grant falls short in its ability to meet the needs of Disabled people. The application process is lengthy and bureaucratic, and, even when granted, the funding is often inadequate.

The grant amount needs be increased to adjust to today’s costs, it remains the same as in 2008.

More Occupational Therapists trained to carry out assessments so the process is completed within agreed time limits.

Housing is unaffordable. High housing costs disproportionately burden Disabled people, who often have lower incomes. This issue is further exacerbated in the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames, where rents are particularly high. Invest in building more social housing that fit people’s needs.

Provide clear and accessible information on housing options, financial support, and adaptation grants for Disabled people.

Increase or reform Housing Benefit levels to keep pace with rising rents so Disabled people can enter/remain in the private rental market.

Section 21 ‘No Fault’ Evictions impact many Disabled people, already facing challenges finding stable housing.

 

We are disproportionately at risk of homelessness or being forced into temporary accommodation.

Ban Section 21. Require landlords to provide a valid reason for eviction, protecting tenants for being forced out without justification.

Increase mandatory notice periods to allow more time to find other accommodation.

Temporary accommodation or hostels/bed and breakfasts is not an appropriate long-term solution for homelessness.

 

Many people are forced to live in temporary accommodation for over a year.

Shift the focus from temporary housing solutions to permanent ones.

Implement programmes that prioritise providing stable housing immediately, with wraparound support services.

Increase social housing properties at a rapid pace.

Many residents in temporary accommodation, hostels, and B&Bs are forced to live in unacceptable conditions, with these facilities often being dirty, mouldy, in need of repair, unsafe, and lacking accessibility features. This is a clear violation of the duty of care owed to these residents by both national and local government. To ensure the safety and well-being of residents, regular inspections need to be conducted on temporary accommodation, hostels, and B&Bs.

 

Inspections must enforce clear minimum standards for cleanliness, safety, accessibility, and repair.

Many Disabled Richmond residents are being relocated outside of the borough or even outside of London when they need temporary accommodation.

 

This is often at the detriment of having their support system nearby: schools, GPs and hospitals, and work at a reasonable distance.

Generate more in borough temporary accommodation e.g. more local authority purchase scheme or agreements with landlords.

 

Develop a more robust system for communication and planning between housing authorities and Disabled residents, allowing for a better understanding of individual needs.

 

Provide subsidised transport options for Disabled residents placed out of borough for essential services such as schools, GPs, hospitals, and workplaces.

Appalling living conditions plague many Disabled people in social housing.

 

These homes are often riddled with extensive disrepair, with unaddressed issues lingering for years.

 

This lack of communication and timely repairs creates unsafe and inaccessible environments, directly impacting the physical and mental health of Disabled people.

Rigorously enforce existing regulations that ensure social housing meets minimum standards for safety, accessibility, and repair. This could involve increased inspections and penalties for non-compliance.

 

Involve Disabled tenants in the decision-making process regarding adaptations to their homes. This ensures the modifications meet their specific needs and preferences.

 

Conduct accessibility audits of social housing units to identify and prioritise modifications needed for Disabled tenants. Develop clear renovation plans with timelines for implementing these changes.

 

BENEFITS

Issue Call to action
Disabled have a right to live in dignity. Personal Independence Payments (PIP) helps people afford the extra costs as well as helping people that have difficulties doing everyday tasks. We all want the right support when we need it. The PIP changes proposed by the current Conservative government need to be scrapped.
The cost-of-living crisis has dealt a devastating blow to Disabled people, pushing up the prices of essential items they rely on for survival. This includes everything from food and heating to crucial medical equipment. This rise in costs is forcing many Disabled people to make impossible choices between their basic needs and their wellbeing. It is important to recognise that everyone deserves a good standard of living and that an increase in Disability benefits needs to be made to reflect the increase in costs.
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA), used as an assessment to enable people with long term health conditions access additional benefits, is not fit for purpose.

 

 

Shift the focus of WCAs to assess the real impact of a disability on a person’s ability to work. This could involve considering factors like fatigue, pain management, and difficulty concentrating throughout a workday.

Increase the role of medical professionals familiar with the claimant’s impairment. allowing for a more accurate understanding of their needs.

Enhance training for WCA assessors to ensure they have a better understanding of various disabilities and their impact on work capacity.

 

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

Issue Call to action
Disabled people on benefits have to pay towards their social care, leaving them without enough money to pay for other essentials.

 

Many Disabled people turn down social care they need as they can’t afford it.

 

Make social free for people on benefits

 

Obtaining an assessment to determine a Disabled person’s social care needs can be a lengthy and complex process. This can delay access to crucial support services. Develop clear, concise, and accessible application forms that are easy for Disabled people to understand and complete, completed within an agreed timeframe.