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Housing Forum

19 March 2013

CCS Disability Action’s Northern Region is putting affordable, accessible housing onto the public agenda at a Housing Forum to be held on Thursday 21 March in Royal Oak. The free event will bring together speakers from the award winning Whangarei Accessible Housing Trust and Auckland Council who will profile the work that is currently being done. The forum will also provide an opportunity for people with a disability and their families to share their experiences and work together to identify a potential roadmap for change.

“Accessible housing is a huge issue for people with a disability in Auckland and it’s one that’s been put in the too hard basket for too long” says Susan Sherrard community lobbyist and disabled person’s advocate for CCS Disability Action.

“The 2006 census points to 600 people, including young people, who are living in rest homes nationwide simply because adequate housing isn’t available. To us, that’s a human rights issue. We and Auckland Council representatives are also regularly approached by people who are looking for a property but cannot find one. We believe that people with access issues also deserve to live in the neighbourhood of their choice. That doesn’t feel like too much to ask, but at the moment, that’s just not the reality” explains Ms Sherrard.

Vanassa McGoldrick, Whangarei Accessible Housing Trustee and a speaker at the event, believes that ‘residential style’ homes where units of modified properties are grouped together is not the answer. “Disabled people are clear about what they want – they want to have a real choice about where they live, be able to live independently in their communities and not be lumped together in residential homes or have disabled ghettos created,” she explains.

Feedback from people with a disability in Northland provided a clear directive; homes need to be affordable, fully modified, good quality and in good neighbourhoods. The trust, who are currently building eight new homes in Whangarei in addition to their existing twelve tenanted homes, also stress the need for properties to be close to public transport and the amenities that support people to live full and independent lives. It’s our intention to replicate this in Auckland, so we can play a part in ensuring all people can be connected to their local community,” says Ms McGoldrick.

Ms Sherrard hopes the forum will lead to some concrete actions and identify community members keen to work to achieve widespread and grassroots change on the issue.

“We’re looking at how we can work with Auckland Council to see what structural levers they can pull, both themselves and with developers. There are still a number of questions that need answering on accessible housing such as, what is the scale of this issue? Where are the information gaps? How well has the business case been captured? Do we need more research to drive change? The Housing Forum will be a chance to pull together the experiences of today with people who have a passion for making accessible housing a reality. I believe together we can achieve real change so I would encourage anyone interested in this issue to come along,” says Ms Sherrard.

The forum is a partnership between CCS Disability Action, Disabled Person’s Assembly and Auckland Disability Law. Those interested in accessible housing or in attending the Housing Forum can visit www.Facebook.com/AccessYourWhare

Housing Forum Details
CCS Disability Action
14 Erson Ave, Royal Oak, Auckland
12:30pm until 3:30pm, Thursday, March 21


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