Demonstrating the Social Value of Wheelchair User Homes
Research context and summary
LSE Housing and Communities, a small research group based at the London School of Economics, have been asked by Habinteg Housing Association to undertake research into the social value of wheelchair user homes. The project will run from February 2023 to July 2023.
There are currently no national guidelines for the creation of new, fully wheelchair accessible homes, even though it is estimated that up to 400,000 wheelchair users live in unsuitable accommodation in the UK, and 20,000 people are on local authority waiting lists for a wheelchair user home.
This research project will use a cost-benefit analysis and qualitative evidence to demonstrate the economic and social value of wheelchair user homes to society. It is hoped that this evidence will provide greater support from local government, industry, and the housing sector to develop new wheelchair user homes.
We know both anecdotally and from previous research that the shortage of accessible homes has serious impacts on people with disabilities, who may risk injury, loss of independence, or face huge costs from having to adapt their existing home or move into specialist accommodation.
We know that living in an accessible home can have hugely positive impacts on a wheelchair user's health, wellbeing, independence, and general lifestyle. We want to provide a strong case that shows both the economic value and the social value of building more wheelchair user homes. We will do that through a cost-benefit analysis, and also by documenting the experiences of people who use a wheelchair about the impact of living in, or not living in, a suitable home.
There are two main strands to this research project:
- The first is a cost-benefit analysis to assess the wider value to society of developing more wheelchair user homes. This will set out the costs of building new wheelchair user homes, against the benefits to society of doing so. We will conduct a literature and evidence review to understand both to costs and benefits of building new wheelchair user homes, and develop an analysis model to assess this social value. We have done this effectively for previous research projects, including for social housing regeneration projects; neighbourhood management; and debt advice.
- The second strand is a qualitative piece of research. We will interview wheelchair user households about their experience of, or lack of, suitable wheelchair user homes. The majority of interviews will take place online or by telephone, although we hope to visit a number of households to understand how their homes impact their day-to-day experience if possible. Centring the voice of wheelchair users, and the impact that living in an accessible, or non-accessible home, has on their health, wellbeing, and independence is crucial to this project. From the interviews we will develop ‘Life Stories’, which will include direct quotes from the interviews.
From the research, we will develop a report which will include both the quantitative cost-benefit analysis research, and the qualitative interview material, including the life stories which will illustrate the personal impacts of living in, or the lack of, a suitable home for wheelchair users. We will also produce an accompanying blog piece and other publicity materials.
The research will be presented to local and national government, and we hope that it will lead to greater support from government, industry, and the housing sector for the development of new wheelchair user homes; and a recognition of the wider economic and social value of fully wheelchair accessible homes.
We want to talk to wheelchair users, or households that include a wheelchair user, about what a wheelchair accessible home means to you and your family.
How has living in a wheelchair accessible home changed things for your and your family? Has living in a wheelchair user home brought any new opportunities?
We are looking to interview people both living in a wheelchair accessible home, or living in a property that is not suitable for your needs. You can own your home, or rent socially or privately.
Interviews will take place online or by telephone, and will take around 30 minutes. If you would like to share your experiences or take part in this study, please contact Jessica Horne Rowan on J.Rowan1@lse.ac.uk OR fill in this form.
If you would like to receive research updates about this project, please sign up here or scan the QR code:
Main Image credit: Close up. Disabled Man on Wheelchair in Office. Photo by VadimGuzhva on Adobe Stock https://stock.adobe.com/uk/images/close-up-disabled-man-on-wheelchair-in-office/228377334?prev_url=detail (Standard licence. Downloaded 22/04/2023)