People with learning disabilities have the right to choose where they live. However, evidence suggests people’s choices are limited due to a shortage of housing.
200 Lives was a mixed methods research project, which evaluated supported living and residential care for people with learning disabilities in England; 107 people with learning disabilities took part, 77 from supported living and 30 from residential care.
Two-thirds of people in supported living compared to half of those in residential care chose the place they were currently living in; however, less than half of all participants looked at another property before moving to their current house. People in supported living were significantly more likely to have chosen who they lived with. Reasons for moving mainly consisted of reactive moves following an issue with the previous living situation. Many people had not considered moving in the future.
Findings suggest that people’s choices about where to live were constrained regarding the properties on offer and who to live with. This suggests that people’s housing rights were not being upheld. Support and housing providers should ensure that housing can adapt to people’s changing needs and wishes over the course of their lives.