Urgent action must be taken to end the wide scale discrimination people with disabilities face when trying to access appropriate accommodation, according to Ireland’s largest disability charity, Rehab Group.
Rehab was responding to a new report by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute, which identified people with disabilities as one of the top three groups facing the highest levels of discrimination when it comes to housing.
The report, ‘Discrimination and Inequality in Housing in Ireland’, found that more than one in four homeless people have a disability. People with disabilities also more than twice as likely to report discrimination relating to housing, and over 1.6 times more likely to live in poor conditions such as damp conditions, lack of central heating or living in an area with neighbourhood problems.
CEO of Rehab Group, Mo Flynn said: “It is deeply troubling to see that people with disabilities are still being excluded from basic human rights around the most critical aspects of their lives. The Government is accountable for this and continues to fail the most vulnerable members of our society. The right to housing is a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability which Ireland finally ratified this year after more than a ten year wait. Every day in Rehab Group services, we see people living full and active lives. We support nearly 200 adults to live independently in their community through our supported accommodation services. Sadly, this is not reflected in the wider population as people with disabilities face inequality and discrimination over and above the general difficulties associated with the current housing crisis..”
The right to live in a community as an equal citizen is outlined under Article 19 of the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which the Government signed up to earlier this year. This right includes living in their own home or with their family. But despite the Government’s commitment to the UNCRPD, more than 7,500 people with disabilities remain on the social housing waiting list, while another 3,000 remain in institutions.
“We are seeing more and more of the people who use our services throughout the country experiencing serious difficulties in accessing accommodation and also getting the supports for they need for independent living”, added Ms Flynn.
“This is greatly impacting their lives due to anxiety about their future. It is a real concern for their physical and mental health. For many of them they see little hope that they will be able to live independent lives without the fundamental access to their own home. The Government needs to wake up to their responsibilities and break the cycle of inequality and discrimination in housing.”.”