More About Accessible Housing Standards
There has been an ongoing battle against homelessness, and time and time again, we have said how important it is to take it very seriously. Ever since the pandemic happened, Australia has made efforts to housing individuals without a home. This was a necessary step to recognize that the problem can be solved. Older Australians and people living with disabilities are among the most vulnerable. Somehow, the focus does not automatically go to them when you think about it, and for good reason. There are less privileged ones who need more assistance and young ones who need opportunities to fully live.
Looks like the Andrews Labor Government is urging all states to shift their focus on older Australians and people living with disabilities with mandatory accessibility standards in the National Construction Code or NCC. These standards would have a huge impact on these individuals that are now estimated to be around 3 million.
One of the many struggles of the elderly is the kind of care they will have to receive especially when they need it the most. A lot of them seek specialised care but not everyone can afford it so there is a definite need for a few more adjustments regarding this matter. The National Building Ministers meeting that happened recently also covered the option to introduce mandatory accessibility standards next year. It could either be that or continue voluntary standards which have not been successful in fixing the housing accessibility issue. Adopting the Liveable Housing Design standard is one solution the Victorian Government sees to make sure that basic accessibility features are included in homes and apartments that are to be constructed.
Here are some features that are said to be included in these new homes:
- Strep free entry
- Step-free showers;
- Ground-level accessible toilets;
- Structural reinforcements for grab rail in bathrooms and doorways;
- Spaces to allow ease of movement;
So what will this mandatory standard do for the country? It is said that it will improve the availability of homes with accessible features up to 50 percent of the total housing stock in Australia by the year 2050. Although it is a long way to go, this improvement will change so many lives.
As the population of Australia ages, the demand for housing, especially accessible housing will continue. In Victoria, data shows that there are about 1.1 million residents with some kind of disability, plus 360,000 with some mobility limitation. Minister for Planning Richard Wynne maintains that leading the way by implementing accessibility standards in public housing, however, in order to fully make a much bigger difference, a regulatory standard for housing is needed.
These standards in the code have never been more important for Australians struggling to find a much more sustainable, accessible home because of all that has been happening. If this option pushes through, an improvement in housing will be seen for sure.