Accessible homes across the ages
To celebrate #HousingDay18, Habinteg tenants to tell us about their experience of living in social housing and the impact that having an accessible home has had on their lives.
Dean Linnell, 25
“I’ve been living with the loss of mobility for two years. Prior to my paralysis, I used crutches to walk. I can’t emphasise enough the positive impact moving to a wheelchair accessible home has made to my life.
“The main challenge I faced using a wheelchair was negotiating narrow spaces in my previous home. Even with adaptations provided by the council, moving from room to room still meant getting around tight spaces. This was also difficult for my partner, who began to take on more of a full-time carer role.
“Living on the ground floor made life a bit easier, but the flat had very narrow doorways. Not ideal for a wheelchair! A small wet room had little space to manoeuver and the council was unable to make any adaptations to that part of the property.
“I also found the demands of work added to my need for a more independent lifestyle. As a result, we decided to search for more accessible accommodation. At that time I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to at home and just felt I just had to put up with a difficult situation.
“Our new home offers the space and flexibility I need to live more independently, with the added bonus being that my partner doesn’t have to give me as much physical support as she used to. The first thing you notice in an accessible home is the layout. There’s extra space and I feel that it’s been designed by someone who knows exactly what I need. The days of bashing knuckles on doorframes are over!
I now have an easy to use wet room and, as a car driver, accessible parking. Living here has made day to day life much easier. I encourage anyone who needs an accessible home to apply.”
Mr Wheaton, 52
“I moved to a wheelchair accessible bungalow in Raynville Crescent from a medium-sized housing estate in Leeds. I was on Leeds City Council’s housing list for five months, luckily my application was a priority due to ill health. I’m a pensioner with multiple sclerosis and I live on my own. The estate was quite outdated and it was difficult to get out of my front door.
“Habinteg and Leeds City Council helped me move from an inaccessible dwelling to a wheelchair accessible home. As one of the first wave of tenants to move into Raynville Crescent, I can now move freely move around my home, whip up meals in a spacious kitchen, do the washing up and relax in the back garden.
“It’s great to go out when I want to now. My trusty motability scooter gets me to the shops and I can spend more time with my son. I couldn’t really get out to see him before. The wheelchair accessible bungalow gives me the ability to live more independently. Entrances and exits are wider, and kitchen counters are adjustable. Sinks, toilets and wet rooms are easy to get to. Living in a single level home also means I can say goodbye to tricky stairs and broken lifts.
Now, whenever I think of my ideal home, I think, ‘This is it. I’m where I want to be’.
“I was paralysed after a road traffic accident several decades ago. To this day I’m still quite philosophical about it. I’d never felt the need to commemorate the date of my accident. A few years ago my friends and family threw me a surprise celebration where we celebrated some of my milestones and accomplishments over the years.
“It also brought back fond memories of my days as a Paralympian, being the first tetraplegic woman to swim a mile, and working on various community projects in my local community, Dunstable.
“The strange thing was, I suddenly realised that all of my achievements happened after the accident. This was a very empowering realisation, and it’s spurred me on to further champion the need for good quality, accessible homes for people living with a disability.
“I’ve lived in an accessible home since 1985 and know how it’s enabled me to give back to the community through involvement in a number of charitable projects. In my experience, accessible housing is a key factor to disabled people’s participation in the community. Over the years it’s given me a voice and enabled me to become a teacher, author, tenant representative, local volunteer and campaigner for accessible housing.
“It’s a fact that disabled people need their own homes. With the right help and support, it gives them the strength and determination to give to the community and live lives that are fulfilling”.