5 Key Thoughts from TPAS Cymru Disability Networks 2018
At the end of 2018 we thought it would be useful to highlight 5 Key Thoughts that have come from the TPAS Cymru Disability Networks that were held during the year.
The Disability Networks are an opportunity to bring together disabled tenants, carers and staff from social housing from across Wales to share good practice, hear about latest policy updates and take part in consultations.
1. There needs to be more focus on the Health and Well-being of disabled people (and their carers and families). Health and well-being is often over-looked by statutory bodies and other organisations who may focus on 'outputs' and Key Performance Indicators rather than 'the difference made' to disabled people. Delegates at the networks feel that by focussing more on the 'impact' that e.g. housing policies have on disabled people, their carers and their families, this will help to improve their general health and well-being.
2. The lack of transport suitable for disabled people, especially wheel-chair users, is a major problem across Wales but, particularly in rural areas. This can have a financial impact on disabled people i.e. the additional costs they may face when hiring taxis for example, whilst also increasing the sense of isolation disabled people feel as a result of them being unable to leave their homes easily. In terms of engagement, offering alternative methods e.g. phone contact, for disabled tenants and residents and carers to get involved is essential. Landlords risk losing a wealth of experience and views if these other methods aren't provided.
3. A lack of understanding around the issues affecting people with disabilities was another 'hot topic' at the networks. Disabled people feel that more training is needed for all housing staff to raise awareness about disabilities generally and the rights of disabled people. For example, it's felt that there's a lot of mis-understanding about disabilities especially if they aren't 'visible' or 'obvious' e.g. hearing loss, mental illness. This increased awareness will help both the members of staff and the disabled tenants.
4. Our Disability Networks are for carers too! Carers have told us that they feel that they are often forgotten about. Without their practical support thousands of disabled people would not be able to carry on living in their own homes. It's important that the needs of carers aren't overlooked by social landlords and public bodies generally when working with disabled people.
5. The Disability Network delegates have contributed to several consultations concerning housing and disabled people: it's really positive that the experience and views from these netwoks is being taken into account. There is good work being done by several organisations to champion the rights of disabled people and to challenge any prejudice and delegates at the networks have heard from representatives from Tai Pawb, Disability Wales and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Thank you!