The National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022-2027 was published this month and details on the strategy.

The publication of this strategy is a positive step in tackling the housing crisis that exists for people with disabilities in Ireland. However, it can only have impact and succeed when the implementation plan is published later this summer. 

This housing strategy was a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. The strategy sets out how the Government will ensure that the housing and support needs of disabled people are addressed and included in the future.

The new strategy involved consultation with disabled people and disability organisations including Irish Wheelchair Association. We highlighted issues such as accessibility and design based on our work with local authorities campaigning for more wheelchair accessible designs and wheelchair liveable housing. 

The new housing strategy for disabled people also involved international research which looked at best practice models of housing in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. It is hoped that Ireland can learn from this research and use some of these schemes in the future.

The new housing strategy has 6 themes:

  1. Accessible Housing and Communities
  2. Agencies working together and providing supports
  3. Affordability and Housing
  4. Communication and Access to Information
  5. Increase understanding in organisations
  6. Connecting the Strategies

The Housing Strategy has been provided in various versions including an easy-to-read format.

We welcome the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People but progress on the strategy can only begin when the national implementation plan for the strategy is agreed and published. The National Housing Agency is committed to publishing the plan in June 2022 so we are looking forward to that plan and will monitor progress closely. 

Irish Wheelchair Association will be part of the implementation structures of the strategy at national and local authority levels and we have been working with these structures for some time now. We want to see the rights of disabled people to a home of their own realised in the lifetime of this strategy.

The wait times for wheelchair liveable housing is unacceptable and we look forward to working more closely with Local Authorities, Approved Housing Bodies, and the Health Service Executive to change this. We believe that everyone can live independently with the appropriate supports in place.