Find out about any developments related to housing that may affect people with a learning disability.
Mencap campaigns to have disabled people exempt from the bedroom tax
In a matter of weeks disabled adults face a stark choice - pay more to stay in your home or leave.
From April 2013 people living in housing association or council housing will be hit by the 'bedroom tax'. People judged to have spare rooms will lose on average £728 per year from their housing benefit, unless they can move somewhere smaller.
420,000 disabled adults will be affected. This is because, for example, where one partner in a couple has a disability they wont be allowed a room each. This is even though the disabled partner may need medical equipment in the room, or have care needs met during the night, leading to disrupted sleep.
The government has recently been told by the Court of Appeal that denying disabled children their own bedroom is discrimination. Thanks to people taking action, the government has accepted this and changed their policy.
But disabled adults will still be hit. Even where there is proof that a couple need an additional bedroom because of the health or disability related needs of one partner, the rules mean that they will not be entitled to it. This needs to change.
Tell Prime Minister David Cameron to stop and think. Tell him to stop discriminating against disabled people. Take our e-action
Routes into housing research report
In Summer 2011, Mencap carried out a piece of research examining the routes into housing for people with a learning disability. The aim of the research was to gain insight into the difficulties that people with a learning disability experience when trying to find somewhere to live.
The report pulls together our findings from secondary research, interviews with people with a learning disability and family/carers as well as a focus group with a selection of housing professionals. Stemming from this, we also make eight recommendations which we feel could improve routes into housing for people with a learning disability.
- Download the full report, Research into routes into housing for people with a learning disability.
- Download an easy read version of the routes into housing research.
The 2010 Spending Review announced that Supporting People funding would be reduced by £46 million by 2014/15. This represents a 12% cut in real terms over the next four years. As Supporting People is now part of the wider grant to local authorities, and therefore not ringfenced, it has been left vulnerable to cuts by local authorities.
Help us campaign against cuts to Supporting People budgets!
Find out more about how you can get involved:
- read our briefing on Supporting People
- read our easy read information sheet about Supporting People funding
- read our factsheet on Supporting People for young mothers.
Localism Act 2011
The Government has introduced new laws which gives local authorities more powers over things like planning laws and social housing.
Consultation on exempt and supported housing closes soon
Mencap, along with thirty six other organisations, has signed a statement of principles outlining our concerns over the Government's proposals for exempt accommodation (housing benefit).
- Read statement of principals: Housing Benefit Reform to see who has signed up
The 'exempt accommodation' rules act as a safety net for many people who rely on supported housing schemes. Their housing benefit is not restricted to the basic levels, giving them access to a home in the community. 40,000 people with a learning disability depend on 'exempt accommodation' to keep a roof over their head.
In July 2011, the government launched a consultation that proposes changes to the way housing benefit is paid to those living in exempt and supported housing.
Mencap has welcomed the consultation and the fact that the government has acknowledged that this cannot be a cost-cutting exercise. The hope is to create a fairer system and clarify some of the issues that have long plagued it.
We now need to make sure the government gets this right and that people with a learning disability continue to be entitled to levels of housing benefit that enable them to live more independently.
See what Mencap said in response to the proposals:
- read Mencap's response to the consultation about Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing
- find out more, read Mencap's briefing on Housing Benefit Reform
- the easy read version of Mencap's briefing about Housing Benefit Reform
If you have any questions or concerns about the proposed changes please contact:
Telephone: 0207 696 6918
More information about the consultation from DWP
There is now also an easy-read version of the consultation - see Housing Benefit and help with high housing costs from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) website. You can respond to the consultation until 9 October 2011. Please also let the campaigns team know what you think.
Research into the housing situation of people with a learning disability
Mencap recently commissioned Cordis Bright Consulting to undertake detailed research into the housing situation and needs of people with a learning disability, now and into the future.
The research looks at:
- where people live now
- where they would like to live if given the opportunity to change their housing arrangements
- what the demand on different types of accommodation for people with a learning disability will be in the future
It also explores what could and should be done to enable more people with a learning disability to live more independently in the community and have access to suitable accommodation.
Download the factsheet about housing and learning disability: the facts for more information
Update: changes to housing benefit
At the end of 2010, the government announced a range of changes to the Local Housing Allowance, which pays your rent if you rent from a private landlord. Mencap is concerned about what these changes could mean for those who currently benefit from the Local Housing Allowance.
Find out more about proposed changes and how you might be affected: