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.
We are now consulting on the SHAC Disabiltiy Charter Scheme which will allow housing associations to bridge the gap between fine words on equalities for disabled tenants and the tenant’s own lived experience. See details here.
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.
To join the campaign group, email email@example.com.
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.
Meet Junior Jimoh
The importance of our campaign is tragically reinforced every day, as highlighted in an ITV news item in May.
“Junior Jimoh has a neuro-muscular condition. He cannot walk, can barely talk and breathes with the assistance of a ventilator. He receives around-the-clock care in his flat in Clapham, a flat that is covered in black mould and damp. It is particularly bad in Junior’s bedroom. Next to the ventilation equipment which helps him breathe, grows thick mould which makes it harder.”
Mr Jimoh’s landlord is one of the largest housing associations in London, L&Q. For more details, please see our L&Q – Fix Our Broken Homes campaign. The landlord has since been forced to apologise for his treatment. See the full apology in our article L&Q Exposed.
- 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.
We hope that all with an interest in mental health disabilities will get involved.
Resources and Useful Links
See the Disability Visibility group terms of reference here.
Housing Associations and ALMOs –
- A Practical Guide to the Public Sector Equality Duty by the Housing Diversity Network and Human Rights Consultancy
- Equalities and Human Rights Commision – Equalities Act 2010 – Public Functions Code of Practice
- Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC): Language Guide
- General Public Sector Equality Duty FAQs: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance-faq/general-duty-faqs-gb
- Government plans to bring in access improvement laws for tenants (22 March 2018): https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/eight-years-on-government-announces-plans-to-bring-in-access-laws-for-tenants/
- Southern Housing ordered to apologise following hate crime ordeal failings (09 July 2020): https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/housing-association-ordered-to-apologise-after-hate-crime-ordeal-failings/