Accessible housing: we have the solution; now it’s time to use it
CCS Disability Action has joined calls for the government to address New Zealand’s accessible housing shortage, with IHC and Auckland-based Disability Connect describing disabled New Zealanders as ‘shut out’ of the rental market.
“Research shows strong evidence of a significant undersupply of accessible private homes and social housing. The good news is we have a tried and tested New-Zealand-based solution in Lifemark® standards. This, combined with the opportunity that the Government’s Kiwibuild project presents makes this the perfect time to address this issue,” says CCS Disability Action Chief Executive David Matthews.
Lifemark is a fully owned subsidiary of CCS Disability Action and works alongside developers, architects, designers and builders to provide a set of standards and peer review process that makes the best use of space in a home, based on the principles of Universal Design.
“We know that Lifemark standards are a great fit for any affordable building programme because any additional cost is negligible and the lifetime costs of the home are significantly lower,” says Mr Matthews.
The idea that accessible housing is a niche issue is, in Mr Matthews’ view, off the mark. “Universal design is as equally applicable to first homes as it is to forever homes. Considering the use of a home over a lifetime, rather than retrofitting to meet individual’s changing needs, makes good financial sense.”
This is particularly relevant with New Zealand’s aging population. “The number of people who need accessible private homes and social housing is rapidly growing. Why not address the problem when we have the solution and the opportunity now?” he says.