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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Housing provision leaving wheelchair users behind


Over 17,200 wheelchair users in Scotland do not have a suitable home, according to a major new research report, which also reveals that this unmet need is set to increase by 80% by 2024.

The report - “Still minding the step? A new estimation of housing need among wheelchair users in Scotland” - estimates that there are 87,340 wheelchair users in Scotland (3.6% of all households). Of these, one in four indoor wheelchair users say their home is not suitable for their needs. It also presents a national estimate of 17,226 wheelchair user households in significant housing need (19.1% of all wheelchair user households).

Written and researched by Horizon Housing Association and North Star Consulting and Research, and supported by the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, the report projects a sharp rise in the numbers of wheelchair users by 2024/25 based on current health trends. It highlights the diversity of circumstances of wheelchair users and makes recommendations for a three tier approach to addressing need, including the design and supply of new homes, adaptations and effective allocation of adapted rented housing.

It suggests how local authorities can better assess housing need among wheelchair users in their area, and recommends that Scottish Government set a national guideline target that 10% of new homes are built to wheelchair accessible standards

Horizon Housing Association is a leading provider of accessible and affordable housing and services that enable people to live full independent lives in the community of their choice. Managing Director Julia Fitzpatrick, said:

"It is encouraging to see the progress many local authorities have made since our first report in 2012, but it is simply not far enough or fast enough to cope with an exponentially growing need. Horizon wants to see fully accessible and adaptable homes included in all new housing developments as a matter of course. Improving access to support with adapting existing homes and in our approaches for enabling disabled people to find suitable homes in the rented sector are equally important.  Disabled people have the right to be involved in community and social life, education or employment and a well-designed and manageable home is the cornerstone.”

Amanda Britain, former Chair and member of CIH Scotland’s Board, said: “This is an important report- not just for the housing sector. It is equally important for health and social care, where pressures and costs will increase if wheelchair users have to live in inappropriate hosing. It is important because of the enormous human impact of not getting this right. The shortfall identified by this report is not something that can be ignored. We must have a concerted and co-ordinated effort to address the growing needs identified in this report.”

The publication can be downloaded from or email if you would like a copy.



For further information please contact Alison Spence on 0131 624 7805 or

Notes to Editor:

Still minding the step?: A new estimation of the housing needs of wheelchair users in Scotland was released at the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland’s Housing Festival on 27 February in a session entitled “Whole system thinking: why accessible housing is the next big thing.”

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