Commonweal Housing is pleased to announce the awarding of a new £10,000 grant to Community Sponsors Homes (CSH) to support essential qualitative research into the demand for wheelchair accessible housing in London.

Commonweal were approached by Community Sponsors Homes (CSH) earlier this year as they sought our support to address an issues they had identified about increasing the supply and usage of wheelchair and disability adapted properties for those that need them. The research they produce will pull together disparate information on the demand and supply side for wheelchair accessible homes with the aim of developing a ‘heat map’ across London to aid their property acquisition programme.

As an organisation CSH seek to tackle the housing-led inequality between disabled and non-disabled people in the UK by providing accessible homes for wheelchair users and their families to rent within the private rented sector (PRS).

A Housing Inequality

CSH identified one of the underlying causal problems behind the housing inequality to be the lack of private sector investment into accessible homes. UK landlords, institutional investors, and overseas investors do not invest proactively in accessible units. This means there are very few wheelchair accessible homes available for private rent. Wheelchair users are therefore dependent on being able to buy their own home in order to have somewhere suitable to live or accessing a limited and rationed supply of adapted homes in the social housing sector. As a result, many wheelchair users live in unsuitable accommodation.

Whilst many new developments are required to include wheelchair adapted properties (and their production is usually monitored) no one is monitoring systematically who ends up buying or living in these homes. As a result such properties often remain unsold for some time with arguments then being made that the demand is not there and restrictions frequently being lifted and properties sold to anyone regardless of need.

CSH aims to raise investment from social impact and institutional investors. These funds will be deployed into wheelchair accessible homes, purchased off plan from house builders. CSH will then rent these assets to strategic partners (specialist housing associations and others) on a long-term lease, leveraging their operational capability to source residents, appropriately allocate properties, and manage the properties.