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Altering the balance of power in the housing market.

National Housing Conference

Author: Mejka, W. P.
Year: 2001
Type: Conference Paper


It has been obvious for some time that the housing market, across all sectors, which has developed in Scotland over recent decades has not been delivering the quantity and quality of contribution which would enable disabled people with varying needs to access that increasingly complex market. Long-term structural imbalances in how the market works leads to the exclusion of disabled people from housing suited to their needs and is, in quantitative and qualitative terms, a crisis of equal proportions to that found in homelessness and rough sleeping. The genesis for the DPHS is to be found in the report of the Ewing Inquiry, which revealed that the housing market was failing to meet the needs of disabled people; that the medical model of disability still dominated thinking and thus practice; that the social rented sector was regarded as the inevitable tenure form; and that the information available to disabled people on options open to them and on which to make informed choices was simply not there. Disabled people in Edinburgh and Lothian took the report as a start point and from where they created the reality of the DPHS concept in 1996. In order to effectively intervene in the housing market and alter the balance of power, it is necessary to assemble a detailed understanding of the existing dynamics of the market. With that in place, clear and measurable outcomes must act as the focus for the nature of the intervention. In addition to the imbalance in the bricks and mortar available to disabled people, an equally fundamental flaw in the market is found in the attitudes prevailing within the market. The DPHS strategy provides services which will : focus on the needs of the disabled person; concentrate related services into a ムOne-Stop-Shopメ; establish intelligence systems on the housing market and the needs of disabled people; act as a catalyst for adding value to existing services. The outcome in all activities undertaken by the DPHS are guided by a benchmark that is paramount - creating equality of housing opportunity. The DPHS culture and value system is informed by the user-led philosophy, with a permanent majority of disabled people amongst the Board of Directors ensuring a clear strategic direction which draws on the contemporary experiences of individual disabled people. Within the framework of the One-Stop-Shop approach, the DPHS has assembled comprehensive person-centred intelligence systems on the housing market. These are used to support a range of services delivered in partnership working with individual disabled people. This combination of an unrivalled knowledge of the housing market coupled with the similarly unrivalled knowledge on disabled peopleメs housing needs, provides the DPHS with a compelling and powerful baseline from which to lobby for change and influence policy. Two initiatives illustrate just how powerful that influence is. Since 1998, our work has included rolling out the DPHS model, with Scottish Executive support, across Scotland and creating a national network of locality-based user-led DPHS. Earlier this year, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 was amended to, in effect, require local government to adopt the DPHS methodology in creating intelligence systems on the housing market and disabled people. In Scotland, the housing futures of people with disabilities are increasingly being decided in partnership with them and with a shift in attitude in that finds systems increasingly working for them. The balance of power in the housing market is being altered to ensure the social inclusion of disabled people.

Further Details

Pages 15 p.
Publish Location Brisbane, Qld.
Accession Number 16.9.03
Keywords United Kingdom, mobility, housing improvement

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