Disabled people more likely to be in cold, damp rental accommodation - Statistics NZ survey

Twenty-four per cent of disabled New Zealanders in rented houses are cold and damp, compared to 15 per cent non-disabled. Photo/123RF.com
Twenty-four per cent of disabled New Zealanders in rented houses are cold and damp, compared to 15 per cent non-disabled. Photo/123RF.com

Disabled people in rented homes are more likely to be shivering through a cold winter, a Disability Survey has found.

Almost 40 per cent of disabled people in rental accommodation said they had difficulty heating, a Statistics NZ survey reported. This is compared to 27 per cent of non-disabled people in rented housing.

Wellbeing and housing statistics manager Litia Tapu said that "a cold, damp house is more common for disabled people than non-disabled".

Overall, 24 per cent of disabled people living in rented houses reported both cold and damp, compared with 15 percent of non-disabled people.

Green Party disability spokesman Mojo Mathers said a cut to home insulation funding to its "lowest ever level" in the 2016 Budget meant that thousands of people were missing out on getting warm, dry homes.

He said disabled people are disproportionately affected by these Budget cuts.

"Everyone deserves to live in a safe, warm, dry home, and these figures show that the very people who need to stay warm and dry the most are missing out.

"Accessible rentals are few and far between, especially in the current housing crisis, so all too often disabled people are forced to accept poor quality housing.

"Disabled people are also often on lower incomes and have higher health and disability expenses, which forces many into lower cost but cold and damp rentals."

Mathers said these living conditions are compounded as people on low incomes are forced into expensive pre-paid power plans, which cost them more to heat their homes.

Difficulty staying warm was less common for disabled people who live in an owner-occupied home, about 20 per cent.

- NZ Herald

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