ILMI 14th January 2022

National housing strategy for disabled people 2022-2027 launch

The new National housing strategy for disabled people 2022 to 2027 was launched today Friday 14th of January 2022 by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien, Minister Anne Rabbitte and Minister Peter Burke.

ILMI really welcomes the launch of the New National Housing Strategy for Disabled people 2022 to 2027 and we hope that the new strategy will implement change so that disabled people can live independently with the appropriate accommodation, choices, and independent living supports as per article 19 of the UNCRPD.

ILMI as a national DPO was delighted to be represented and involved in the National advisory group in relation to this new strategy. ILMI would like to commend the Housing Agency and the relevant Departments involved in getting this strategy to launch today.

The vision of the strategy is “to facilitate disabled people to live independently with the appropriate choices and control over where, how and with whom they live, promoting their inclusion in the community. To further enable equal access for disabled people to housing with integrated support services”. The new strategy has six main themes:
•            Accessible Housing and Communities
•            Interagency Collaboration and the Provision of Support
•            Affordability of Housing
•            Communication and Access to Information
•            Knowledge, Capacity, and Expertise
•            Strategy Alignment

ILMI also welcomes the use of the social model of language throughout the strategy which reflects values of equality and empowerment, echoing that our impairments don’t disable us and that it society, structures, attitudes and systems that do.

Finally, ILMI welcomes the call for people with lived experience onto the local Housing Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs). ILMI positively supports that the Housing and Disability Steering Group structure will be maintained and strengthened over the lifetime of the new national Strategy. As you know over the course of 2021 ILMI hosted online programmes such as “Making Inclusion a Reality “and “The ILMI Housing Network” to prepare and build our members capacity to enable them to contribute and participate effectively on their HDSGs locally. We look forward to continuing this work in 2022 by running a new phase of the “ILMI Housing network” This network sets out to prepare disabled people to represent ILMI on these structures.

If you want to join the new ILMI Housing Network email our Policy Officer on jamescawley@ilmi.ie

ILMI will work towards creating an analysis of the “National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022 – 2027” which will be published on our website in the near future.

You can access the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022 – 2027 and other research which informed the Strategy HERE

ILMI VOICE Project update – Meet the Team!

IMAGE: photo of Nicola Meacle

Meet our new ILMI team member Nicola Meacle! Nicola has joined us as a Community Development Worker on the VOICE project. You can contact her at nicolameacle@ilmi.ie

I first heard about the independent living movement in the early nineties when I attended an event organised by a group of Dublin-based disabled activists. My public health nurse volunteered with the Irish Wheelchair Association and had seen a poster.

I was living with my Parents in the countryside at that time and it was life-changing for me to hear disabled people articulating what I had felt intuitively i.e.  Disabled people had the right to self-determination and to pursue the same aspirations as their non-disabled peers. Prior to that meeting, I hadn’t heard about the concept of Personal Assistance and it was the missing link I had been waiting for.

After graduating from UCC with a degree in social science, I worked in CORK CIL for approx. 20 years where I saw the significant and positive impact that Personal Assistance made in disabled people’s lives. The PA Service is one part of the jig saw that makes independent living possible. There is an interconnected importance of housing, personal assistance, transport, and an accessible physical environment in terms of achieving independent living. For those elements to be in place requires a commitment to and understanding of the social model of disability.

I also worked with Northside Community Enterprises as a CE Supervisor, supporting long-term unemployed people to gain the skills to access mainstream employment.”

Meet the newest member of the ILMI Staff Team Paula Soraghan.

Paula has joined us as a Community Development Worker on the VOICE Project. You can contact Paula at paulasoraghan@ilmi.ie

IMAGE: photo of Paula Soraghan

Paula started working with ILMI in January 2022 as a Community Development Worker for the VOICE project. She identifies as a proud disabled woman and advocate since discovering the social model of disability when she attended ILMI’s 2019 AGM.

She has a Joint BA from Maynooth University, A HDip in Drama Education from Griffith College, Dublin, and she is studying Disability Equality in St Angela’s College Sligo,

She is very passionate about the social model of disability and the importance of disabled people’s lived experience through a social model perspective to bring about positive social change.

She understands the importance of online spaces that help build community and empower disabled activists to create social change as she is an active member in ILMI, also.

She wants disabled people to feel confident and in control of their lives and ensure that they are reaching their full potential in their communities.

Our Virtual Online Inclusive Communities for Empowerment (VOICE) project, which is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development has now officially commenced!

ILMI’s VOICE Project is a community development project with the focus on bringing disabled people together in collective spaces. It is based on digital networking, peer mentoring support and activism with disabled people in the south of Ireland (CHO areas 4 and 5).

As a genuine Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) we recognise, first and foremost, that disabled people must have the equality of opportunity to become active members in their communities. Spaces need to be created and resourced to build a collective shared analysis and for representatives to be supported to bring collective voices to inform mainstream service provision and policy development.

VOICE will inform, mentor and support disabled people to build authentic local representative structures and build the capacity of local mainstream services to promote real inclusion of disabled people. VOICE will work with each participant to develop Personal Action Plans, identifying and developing goals through effectively accessing local mainstream services that reduce isolation while improving health and wellbeing.

ILMI will also provide technical guidance to mainstream local community, sporting, educational and cultural organisations in relation to Disability Equality Training, access, engagement and inclusion in order to promote involvement of disabled people in their communities.

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