Access points and barriers to owner occupation for disabled people

Burns, Nicola (2002) Access points and barriers to owner occupation for disabled people. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Little research has been carried out on the housing circumstances and experiences of disabled people in the housing system, particularly in relation to the majority tenure in Britain, owner occupation. Adopting a 'social model' approach to disability, in which disability is seen as discrimination or oppression, the thesis explores disabled people's (i.e. those with a physical impairment) experiences of accessing home ownership. Utilising both quantitative and qualitative methods, the thesis addresses the question of what are the experiences of those with a physical impairment in the private sector of the housing system. Analysis of the Scottish House Condition Survey, 1996, and of a bespoke postal questionnaire, were used to examine the socio-economic and housing characteristics of disabled people at the national and local level. Semi-structured interviews with disabled people who had successfully accessed owner occupation or who were attempting to purchase were carried out in order to explore their experiences of the process of house buying and aspects of home ownership. Similarly, key informants from organisations routinely involved in the house buying process were also interviewed. The analysis identifies a number of barriers that occur throughout the house buying process. Often this process was disrupted, with choices and preferences being constrained by the need to find a mortgage and a suitable and usable property. The low socio-economic status of disabled people in general was identified as being a significant obstacle in accessing the tenure. Related to this, the source of income was problematic, with many disabled interviewees reliant upon benefits as the sole or significant source of income. This was problematic because lenders are often reluctant to acknowledge this as income. In relation to finding a property, interviewees encountered problems of access, design and affordability. Information around the house buying process was lacking, both for disabled people and lenders, developers and estate agents. There was a lack of information for all these groups regarding design issues, finance for disabled people and the needs of this group. The problems encountered by disabled people throughout the house buying process were compounded by the procedures of institutions and the attitudes and 'knowledge' implicit within such procedures. Underlying procedures, as they related to disabled people, were based on the dominant biological essentialist discourse around disability, which permeated organisations' knowledge and ability to deal with the needs of disabled people. In light of the analysis, the thesis concludes by offering policy recommendations and areas for future research. It is suggested that professionals in the housing system need to be more aware of the needs and rights of disabled people and, similar to disabled people, require improved information at each stage of the house buying process. A redefinition of disability is required at the legislative and policy level in order to engender real change in the broader circumstances of disabled people's lives. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the housing circumstances, needs and aspirations of disabled people, more research of a qualitative nature is required.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Robina Goodlad
Keywords: Urban planning, Public administration, Disability studies
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-72873
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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