A new housing strategy aims to help integrate people with disabilities

Fingal County Council has launched a new housing strategy that aims to provide people with disabilities better opportunities and foster a more inclusive community.

Individuals with mental, sensory, intellectual, or physical disabilities regularly face challenges when finding suitable housing that meet their needs.

The approach was produced in collaboration with disability advocates, representative organisations and individual clients and it prioritises accessibility and recognises the importance of creating environments that promote independence, equality, and integration for all residents.

Launching the strategy, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony said: “This is a strategy which I believe will help secure a better housing experience for those with a disability and further empower them to live the life they want to lead.

“It is a really important collaborative piece of work that brings increased opportunities for independence and supports the physical, mental and emotional well-being needs of people.”

Barry Raleigh, housing support coordinator at Avista, added: “This means that people are no longer being pushed over to one side, that they’re not being confined to living within a congregated setting and gives them an opportunity to integrate into society on a daily basis.

“By creating accessible and supportive living spaces, we are offering individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live independently, with dignity, and to actively participate in all aspects of community life.

“This joint strategy represents a significant stride towards dismantling barriers and embracing diversity, as we work together to foster an inclusive society that values every individual.”

Key elements of the new housing strategy include:

Universal Accessibility

All housing units should be appropriately designed and future proofed with universal accessibility in mind. This means incorporating features such as wider doorways, ramps, elevators, and accessible bathrooms.

Integrated Communities

The development of integrated communities where individuals with disabilities live alongside their peers without disabilities. Personal support will be in place for people transitioning congregated type settings into locations of people’s choosing, close to services, public transport etc. This allows individuals with disabilities to become active participants in community life.

Supportive Services

Recognising that some individuals with disabilities may require additional support, there will be adequate support services available for people who need them such as personalised care plans, assistance with daily living activities, and access to healthcare resources.

Fingal County Council will help provide residents with the tools they need to live independently and pursue their goals by incorporating these into its housing strategy.

Alongside this, the steering group who developed the strategy believe that this commitment will create a living environment that enables people with disabilities to flourish and actively participate in their local communities.

“By embracing inclusive housing, we are nurturing a more diverse and dynamic community that thrives on the strength of its inclusivity,” according to chief executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly.

Fingal’s director of housing and communities, Robert Burns said: “This new approach will not only provide better opportunities for individuals with disabilities, but it will also enhance the fabric of our local communities.

“By engaging with key partners, we can create a future where everyone can thrive and where every individual has the opportunity to live a life filled with dignity, independence, and meaningful connections.”

Anne O’Brien, the housing compliance and tenancy support manager at St Michael’s House, added: “Engaging with all of the stakeholders involved has been very beneficial, and has allowed us to advocate on behalf of our service users.

“For people to have a choice as to what their future looks like will help open up huge opportunities for all of the individuals that we provide support for, allowing them to be part of the community they live in and to have real control over their future.”

Source: Fingal County Council