Housing association Habinteg today announces a groundbreaking initiative in partnership with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to improve the accessible housing offer across the region.

The project, which will be jointly delivered by Habinteg and its consultancy team Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), aims to propel WMCA towards enhanced inclusivity and accessibility for disabled and older people, as part of its wellbeing delivery priorities.

The project team will aim to:

Identify the common barriers preventing disabled people, people with long-term health conditions and older people from having accessible homes suited to their needs

Provide a picture of the current accessible housing and associated neighbourhood environment provision

Assess the supply and demand of accessible housing and good practice.

WMCA consists of 18 local authorities and one local enterprise partnership. The project will focus on the seven metropolitan member authorities and will involve consultation with local disabled people’s groups as well as key local authority teams, social housing providers, developers and local landlord forums.

Consultations will also extend to housing providers, developers, and a broader examination of accessible housing provision across the UK to shape the understanding of best practices and implications for the region.

Christina McGill, Director of Social Impact & External Affairs at Habinteg, said: “Having a home that suits our needs is the foundation for a healthy and thriving life but it’s something that so many disabled people struggle to secure because in this country so much of our housing was built before accessible design was even thought of. So, we’re really encouraged to see the WMCA team putting accessible and inclusive housing provision at the forefront of its strategy to create a more inclusive region.”

Clare Hatton, Director of Operations for Employment, Skills, Health, and Communities, WMCA, said: “We’re delighted that Habinteg and CAE are supporting us in our ambition to become an exemplar region for disabled people. This work will enable the region to understand where it needs to focus its attention for creating accessible and affordable homes. Ensuring our disabled residents have the same opportunities as anyone else across the region.”

Leo Pollak, Head of Policy, Housing, Property and Regeneration, WMCA, said: “We are delighted to have the support of Habinteg and Centre for Accessible Environments, to establish a true picture of current accessible housing provision and likely future demand across the West Midlands, as we seek to ensure everybody’s needs are met through their housing in the region.”

If you live in the West Midlands, and you would like to register your interest in helping our research, please get in touch at WestMidlands@habinteg.org.uk.

The project will run from now until 30 April 2024.