Moving Into Your Own Place
At some point, many people – disabled and non-disabled – want to move away from their family home. Though finding barrier-free, accessible accommodation, working out finances, what support you’ll need and how to go about it are all critical and challenging, they can be overcome and many people do it. It can take a long time, so it’s worth thinking about and planning a long time in advance.
The following questions and links may be a starting point for exploring your options.
Where Do You Want To Live?
- Geographical location?
- Close to family / friend / support networks?
- Transport links to work / leisure activities?
- On your own?
- Sharing with a partner / flatmates / live-in PAs?
Finding Somewhere Accessible - What Are My Housing Options And Who Can Support Me?
Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider renting a Council or Housing Association home, renting from a private landlord or buying your own home. Whichever, you’ll need a good idea of the accessible features (see checklist in next section for more ideas) you’re looking for – and to decide which are essential for you to get around and live your life as independently as possible and which, though they’re desirable, you may be able to compromise on or ‘fix’ later.
It may be helpful to talk to your OT or Social Worker if you have one – they’ll be aware of the options that may be available in your area, and / or be able to connect you with other local support. They may also be able to provide supporting letters outlining your need for suitable accommodation.
Otherwise, you can visit or call the Local Council offices for advice and information about applying for Local Council or Housing Association accommodation. Each Local Council will be able to advise if you meet any requirement to have ‘local connections’ and if you’re eligible to apply under ‘priority need’. In some parts of England and Wales, councils have an Accessible Housing Register so it’s worth asking about this when you contact them.
Citizen’s Advice have information about accessible housing registers, priority need and local connections – browse their section on Looking for Accommodation here: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/finding-a-place-to-live/finding-accommodation/#h-looking-for-accommodation
Details for each Local Council can be searched for here: www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Equality and Human Rights Commission publish detailed guidance about your rights to accessible and adaptable housing:
Disability Horizons magazine is an online disability lifestyle publication that aims to give disabled people a voice. Their "Ultimate Guide to Finding an Accessible Home" is free to download from their website: http://disabilityhorizons.com/2016/10/disability-housing-free-downloadable-guide-to-finding-an-accessible-home/
Shelter provide information and support about housing issues:
How Will I Fund My Move?
This will depending on the sort of housing you’re wanting and your circumstances – such as whether you work, which benefits you’re claiming and / or you’re entitled to, whether you have savings, whether you’re sharing costs with a partner etc.
Some local councils can offer assistance towards deposits for privately rented accommodation.
Citizens Advice can advise on benefits, debt and financial issues or can put you in touch with appropriate local advisers. To find your local Citizens Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice/