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Campaign for more social housing for people with disabilities in Kilkenny

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The Irish Wheelchair Association has launched Think Ahead, Think Housing 2022, its annual campaign for more social housing for people with disabilities in Kilkenny.

Think Ahead, Think Housing is an awareness campaign for disabled people in the county, encouraging them to think ahead and apply for housing from Kilkenny County Council if they will need it in the years to come.

According to Tony Cunningham, national housing director at the Irish Wheelchair Association,

“Think Ahead, Think Housing is for anyone with a disability in Kilkenny who wants to leave their home and start their independent life or anyone who is worried about where they will end up living as they get older. Our campaign encourages and supports people to apply for accommodation with their local authority as soon as possible. »

“Among our members we find that there is no livable wheelchair accommodation available through private hire or local authorities,” Tony said.

“We at the Irish Wheelchair Association campaign for change, but it is up to people with disabilities to apply to their local authority for social housing so they can be included in new local authority housing development plans, which will take several years to be completed.”

“We know that in Kilkenny and across Ireland there is not just a shortage of accessible accommodation, there is a complete lack of wheelchair-habitable accommodation options. As a result, across Ireland, 1,300 young and middle-aged people with physical disabilities have been forced to live in aged care homes due to a lack of accessible social housing. This cannot be the future and there is a lot of work to be done locally and nationally for our housing campaign.

In 2021, the Irish Wheelchair Association was part of a successful campaign to include ‘wheelchair livable accommodation’ as an option on social housing application forms.

According to Jean Coleman, national housing program manager for the Irish Wheelchair Association, now is a good time to apply for social housing: “The government’s national housing strategy aims to increase the supply of social housing to an average by 33,000 per year over the next decade thanks to public funding of 4 billion per year.In addition, for the first time, applicants can record their need for livable wheelchair-accessible accommodation on their application form. 2021, it was not possible for a person with a disability to specifically include their accessibility requirements on their application for social housing Thus, we call on people with disabilities who wish to have their own accommodation to contact their local authority for the new form of demand for social housing,” said Jean Coleman.

“It was the first step in our housing campaign,” says Tony Cunningham. “Now people can register their needs on their housing applications and local authorities and disabled people’s organizations can track the specific needs of people on our social housing waiting lists. At the Irish Wheelchair Association we have even bigger plans to change outdated building regulations that are inaccessible in Ireland.But we need people with disabilities who want to live independently to reach out to Kilkenny County Council, be included and be seen.We cannot change things together,” Tony Cunningham said. “People with physical disabilities must be included in Ireland’s social housing strategy as never before,” he said.

For more details visit www.iwa.ie/thinkhousing.ie

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