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Intervention on the principles of awarding social housing to the disabled

HFHR received an appeal for help from an inhabitant of Łomża living alone in a social housing apartment. He is a physically disabled, wheelchair-bound person. The apartment he presently occupies is on the 8th floor and cannot be directly accessed by means of an elevator. Additionally, the shared toilet in the corridor is not equipped for the needs of disabled persons and does not guarantee ease of use and privacy they require. As it transpires from the correspondence between the inhabitant of Łomża and the municipal authorities, changing the apartment for another one, suitably located on a lower floor, may take from three even up to five years.

HFHR in its intervention addressed to the President of Łomża quoted a number of resolutions adopted by municipal councils regarding accommodation conditions for disabled persons. The requirements specified in those resolutions include the necessity to adapt the apartments to the needs of disabled persons and to provide them with a possibility to rent an apartment situated on lower floors.

In the Foundation’s view, while awarding social housing, commune authorities should take into account not only technical parameters of the apartments, but also the needs of their future inhabitants. The situation of disabled persons is exceptional by its very nature, and hence the fact that they are awarded apartments that are not adapted to their specific needs can be considered a violation of human dignity and the right to privacy.

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