Inadequate housing for people with disabilities in Russia
Most housing is not adapted to meet the needs of people with disabilities, says Russia’s Audit Chamber
Russia’s Audit Chamber has claimed that it will take at least 20 years if current levels of funding are maintained to improve the living conditions of those who require unrestricted access to their home environment.
“Government support for enhancing the state of housing is now so low that people with disabilities are simply unable to exercise their housing rights. The number of disabled people who have been removed from the register (those who have resolved situations for themselves, have died or lost their disability status) far exceeds those who have received support from the State”, said one of the Chamber’s auditors, Svetlana Orlova.
During 2019, the number of people who should have been provided with State housing fell by 5.9% which, according to the Audit Chamber, is due to a lack of funding. Since 2014, there has been an average of an extra 5% in federal funding for the regions which has made it possible to provide housing from between 3% and 6% of the total number of those on the waiting list for one year. At the beginning of 2020, 42,000 disabled people registered before 2005 were still awaiting State support.
“The situation is even worse for disabled people who were placed on the waiting list after 2005 as they are not currently seen as a separate group in need of housing. The main criteria for registering them are based not only on need but also on the state of the accommodation”, said Orlova. She stressed the fact that there were now more than 63,000 on the housing waiting list with no sign of the numbers coming down: in 2019, only 3% were able to improve their living conditions.
The auditor predicts that it will take more than 20 years to improve housing accommodation for people with disabilities if current levels of funding are maintained. Despite the steady increase in the volume of housing in Russia, social housing is not being built, with most of the country’s stock still not adapted for disabled people. “Today, more than one million people with disabilities are living in accommodation which is totally unsuitable for their needs”, said Orlova.
Speaking to the Audit Chamber, Yuri Gordeev, Russia’s Deputy Housing Minister, said that he fully supports the Audit Chamber’s conclusions and said that his Ministry “will be making every effort to ensure that this group is properly provided for up until 2024”, adding that measures were currently being developed to take this forward.