Adaptable housing for people with disability in Australia: a scoping study
There are 4.4 million people with disability in Australia, yet the availability of appropriate accessible housing remains a challenge for many Australians with disability. Many existing homes are inaccessible and, as there is currently no mandatory accessibility standard for housing contained in the National Construction Code (NCC), inaccessible homes continue to be built. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has expressed concern about this and recommended that federal law be amended to include mandatory rules on access for all new and extensively modified housing.
Problems with existing housing include poor access; unsuitable internal layouts; inadequately designed bathrooms, kitchens and laundries; and a lack of other qualities such as good light and connections to outdoor views and spaces. As well, dwellings may be poorly located in relation to transport, services and amenities, further limiting life choices, particularly around employment. It is up to individual households to make changes to their dwellings – owned or rented – whether through limited government funding pathways if they qualify, or by privately funding them.
The provision and availability of accessible housing for people with disability can be enhanced in two ways:
by ensuring that all housing is constructed to meet minimum accessibility requirements from the outset, or
through some form of modification or adaptation, which may involve a substantial renovation.