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Housing help tips, podcasts and lifelines for people with sight loss, collected online

A new online housing guide for people with sight loss has been launched, collecting together existing resources, advice and podcasts to help people in a range of situations.

The free guide has been created by sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust, as a comprehensive portal for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home or experiencing housing issues.

Users are linked to relevant information depending on their circumstances – for example, people seeking information on independent living, people whose homes need repairs, and those facing homelessness or eviction.

A wide range of topics are covered, including advice on renting and buying a home, resources to help with household tasks, local authority support, and a housing ‘jargon buster’.

Imogen Blood, co-author of the guide, told e-Access Bulletin that people with sight loss face a number of issues around housing. She said: “The process of finding housing and moving home can throw up a number of practical challenges for a person with sight loss: from getting accessible versions of tenancy agreements to thinking about where you will exercise your guide dog. Meanwhile there is a lack of clarity around whether and how you might be able to access social housing with a visual impairment, or use disability benefits to pay a mortgage.”

One section of the guide focuses on technology that can aid independent living, such as smartphone apps. More information on this topic can be found in Thomas Pocklington Trust’s Assistive and Inclusive Home Technology guide, covered in e-Access Bulletin’s July 2016 issue: http://eab.li/7b .

Blood said that she was struck by the difficulty in finding useful online housing information for people with sight loss, and wanted to bring together relevant information in one place.

It was important to create a digital publication to reach more people, Blood said: “Putting the guide online will get this information out as widely as possible, to people who might not typically come into contact with some services,” she said.

Links to audio podcasts recorded by Thomas Pocklington Trust are also included in the guide, for users to stream or download. The podcasts feature people with sight loss talking about housing issues that have affected them. Speaking about the making of these podcasts, Blood said: “As we developed the guide, it struck us that many people we spoke to could benefit from hearing each other’s stories.”

She continued: “I met visually impaired people who had jumped around private sector tenancies as much as their sighted peers, but I also meet younger people whose confidence about independent living was very low. They seemed genuinely inspired to hear that living in your own place with a partner was even an option for someone with a visual impairment.”

The online housing guide for people with sight loss is available at Thomas Pocklington Trust’s website, at the following link:
http://eab.li/7c .

Listen to an interview with the authors of the housing guide on RNIB Connect Radio, available to stream or download: http://eab.li/7t .

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