SHAC is committed to supporting those with disabilities so that they can be heard within the sector, and will continue working with members to drive a better understanding of the issues.
SHAC Disability Charter Scheme
SHAC’s Disability Charter Scheme has been developed in collaboration with disabled tenants and residents, and their carers. It aims to encourage and help housing associations achieve greater awareness and compliance with the disabilities aspect of the Equality Act 2010. We are encouraging all tenants and residents to send the Charter Scheme document to their landlords and ask them to implement it. Even if your landlord is not sympathetic initially or corporately, it will help build pressure and may receive support from the staff who see it.
SHAC Disability Dossier – Shared Experiences
As part of our Disability Visibility action plan, we are collated experiences of interaction with housing associations by disabled people. The accounts formed a testimony on disability discrimination, and is used for political lobbying, press work and more generally to highlight the additional barriers (and on occasions outright hostility) many disabled tenants and residents experience. See the SHAC Testimony on Disability and Housing Associations
The mental health and neurodiversity knowledge gap in the sector will take time to address, but we want to include residents and workers with lived experience of mental health or neurodiversity in the conversation. Proposals must be discussed and developed, but like racism, the culture of bullying and disability discrimination itself has to be tackled right now.
- Housing associations must be subject to an enforceable protocol to ensure that those with mental health disabilities or on the Autism spectrum are treated fairly and equally.
- Housing associations must be externally monitored on how well they adhere to their own policies on equality diversity and inclusion, and the Equality Act, which too many still consider optional.
- Measures should be introduced to implement the Care Quality Commission’s person-centred approach on mental health service provision, including through contracts with ‘community partners’.
- Social landlords must be brought into the inspection and enforcement regime of the Care Quality Commission.
Our SHAC Disability Visibility Group was prompted by Carl Davis’s guest blog ‘Look Who’s Talking: Mental Health Disability and Housing Associations‘. SHAC received much positive feedback on the article, and held a lively and well-attended meeting to discuss the issues raised. We launched our Disibility Visibility Group soon after.
Jacqueline Parkes facilitated the meeting, and you can see Jacqueline’s slide presentation (below) which framed the discussion. The slides are packed with useful information on the legal obligations of landlords, and key cases and findings from Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
SHAC Documents and Guides
- The SHAC Disability Visibility group terms of reference – here.
- SHAC Guide – Reasonable Adjustments for Disabilities for Tenants – here
- SHAC Guide – Reasonable Adjustments for Disabilities for Landlords – here
- Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 (guidance updated in March 2023 when government published its ASB action plan)
- A Practical Guide to the Public Sector Equality Dut – Housing Diversity Network and Human Rights Consultancy
SHAC works with a diverse group of organisations campaigning on disability and housing to maximise our impact. You may be interested in their details and the presentations they made at an open meeting of the Disability Visibility group on inclusive housing and housing services.
- Inclusion London: Deaf and Disabled people’s organisation in London and campaigning for equality for Deaf and Disabled people. Currently focussing on discrimination in housing. Download their presentation
- London Renters Union (Disability Caucus): A member-led, campaigning union taking action to transform the housing system and to win homes for people, not private profit. The Disability Caucus meets online on the last Sunday of the month between 5pm and 6.30pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Download their presentation.
- Asian People’s Disability Alliance: A user-led registered charity of Asian disabled people. The organisation provides culturally sensitive support and services to London’s disabled communities. Download their presentation
- CLADDAG: Leaseholder Disability Action Group – a group of residents who are disabled or have health conditions and are living in homes affected by the cladding and building safety crisis. In addition to the financial pressure and stress this national scandal is causing to everyone, there are additional issues for disabled residents.
- CLADDAG is currently petitioning government to enact the Grenfell Inquiry recommendation on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs). Please sign the petition here. You can find more information on this issue here.
- In September 2022, the High Court granted CLADDAG permission to apply for judicial review. This means that the judge considered that they have an arguable case and considered that it should be brought before the court swiftly. See more here. CLADDAG is crowdfunding for the legal costs. Please help if you can here.
SHAC works closely with CLADDAG, a group of residents who are disabled or have health conditions and are living in homes affected by the cladding and building safety crisis. In addition to the financial pressure and stress this national scandal is causing to everyone, there are additional issues for disabled residents.
CLADDAG recently published a statement expressing their horror and deep dismay at “Lord Greenhalgh’s announcement that the Government does not agree that disabled people should have a right to a personal emergency evacuation plan. This follows a 9-month wait since the Government’s second consultation on the matter. It now proposes to launch a third one.
It is unconscionable that the Government has dismissed, for a third time, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendation for personal emergency evacuation plans for disabled people living in high rise buildings. The tragedy involved the deaths of over 40% of disabled residents.” You can read the full statement here.