Category: A Guide to Finding a Home for Visually Impaired People

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Housing Guide for People with Sight Loss Introduction This online guide aims to share information for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home, seeking to live independently for the first time or experiencing problems in their current accommodation.  It will share personal experiences from visually impaired people who have different life circumstances, provide useful suggestions, and signpost to sources for further advice. If you have any comments or ideas about the information in the guide, please email us at To browse the guide, or to help us direct you to the most relevant information, please select a...

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I want to think about my options for a Future Move

I want to think about my options for a future move People decide to move to a new home for different reasons. You might be considering a move out of the family home for the first time; you might need to move to start a new job or a course; to move in with your partner (or out, following the breakdown of a relationship); or you might be looking for somewhere cheaper, more secure, bigger or better located. The main housing options available involve: Renting from a private landlord; Renting from a social or not-for-profit landlord – a local authority, housing association or housing cooperative; Buying (or part-buying) your own home. This section includes: Tips about House Sharing from people with sight loss. Information about private renting, social renting and (part-) buying a home; Benefits and finances – to work out what you will be able to afford; Further places to go for advice and information. A housing jargon buster – click on the underlined words throughout to be taken to a jargon buster with definitions. If you are (or plan to be) a student, please go to our section on student housing  General considerations before moving It is important to think about what you need from your home. What are your priorities for a new home and what are the aspects you would be prepared to compromise on? The...

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I am or will be a student

I am or will be a student Student housing Going off to college or university can be a great opportunity to get a taste of living independently, but how do you go about finding suitable accommodation? What might you need to consider and where can you go for information, advice and support? Choosing between the different types of student housing Which? University and the National Union of Students have put together a useful list of pros and cons for each of the main housing options for students: University Halls Private Halls Private accommodation Living at Home See: Certainly for your first year, university halls are a popular option with all students, including those with sight loss. They tend to be on or close to the campus so you should be able to get to lectures without needing to take a bus and they can be a good way of getting to know other students. Tim (a young visually impaired adult who had tried out a number of different housing options while studying) told us: ‘Halls have people watching over them – like wardens or security guards or whatever – so they are quite well-governed. If anything happens or there are any problems, they will get solved.’ Universities generally prioritise students with disabilities when allocating places in halls, so make sure to give information about your access requirements when you...

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I need information on living independently;

I need information on living independently Living independently can involve specialist training, the use of assistive aids, technologies and support services.  Some options work better for some people and it might take trial and error to find the most suitable approach for you. This section will signpost you to potential useful resources and sources of advice or information to help explore independent living opportunities.  Please select a link to browse a specific area: Equipment and technology Support for Independent Living Courses on Independent Living Local Sensory Centres and Sensory Impairment Training Cooking with Sight Loss Reading Mail Lighting Equipment and Technology Thomas Pocklington Trust has produced a guide to assistive and inclusive technology that can help with daily activities in and around the home (AIT guide 2016). Find it here. Computer Room Services provides technologies to assist with everyday communication and access to independent living: The RNIB online shop provides a wide range of equipment designed for living independently: Many people with sight loss use smartphone apps for a variety of independent living tasks; for example, object identification and navigation assistance. Several identification apps such as BeSpecular, provide virtually immediate human answers in response to almost any conceivable practical identification question, while BlindSquare is one of several GPS apps that have been specifically designed to offer visually impaired people enhanced mobility orientation information when out and about. There...

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I need information on the moving process;

I need information on the moving process Moving house is among one of the most stressful times for any person.  This section aims to highlight aspects you may wish to plan as a visually impaired individual before a move, and suggests potential sources of information.  If there are any additional aspects you feel should be covered here, please contact us with your suggestions. Please select the link to browse a specific area: Packing and Removals Bin Collections Travel and Route Training Long-cane and symbol cane mobility information Mobility Training Information for Guide Dog Owners   Packing and Removals  One of the decisions people need to make is how much furniture they might require in a new home or what existing furniture would be suitable for the new home.  The British Heart Foundation provide a free furniture donation or furniture provision service. Often, family and friends will help out with packing up belongings and the transport of these to a new home.  However, when outside assistance is required it can be a challenge to find a reliable individual or company. It may be worthwhile contacting your local sensory centre or sensory impairment team. They might know of local volunteers who would be willing to help pack, move or unpack boxes during your home move.  Please see the list of sensory centres and sensory impairment teams in the previous section...

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I am homeless or facing homelessness/eviction;

I am homeless or facing homelessness/eviction If you are legally homeless or threatened with homelessness, your local council’s homelessness team should be able to help. They should be able to provide temporary accommodation and help you apply for settled housing or assistance to resolve a housing issue.  You will be viewed as homeless if you have no home in the UK or elsewhere in the world. This does not mean that you need to be sleeping on the streets. Common circumstances that make people homeless include: Social or private tenant facing eviction; Home-owner facing repossession by the mortgage lender; Experiencing violent abuse or harassment; or Condition of the property is damaging the health of the household. Your rights are slightly different depending on whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales. For example, in England, if you do not have children with you, you will need to show that you are ‘in priority need’. Having a significant visual impairment should mean that you qualify, but you will need to explain this within your application and be clear about how this would put you at more risk as a homeless person than someone who does not have a visual impairment. It is always worth talking to an advisor outside of the council about your situation too and doing this, if you can, before the situation deteriorates to a crisis. There...

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I need to move urgently – I don’t feel safe where I am living now;

I need to move urgently – I don’t feel safe where I am living now There may be a number of reasons for this: domestic abuse (including abuse by partners or family members); or fear or experiences of crime or harassment from others. These experiences can be particularly challenging for individuals with a visual impairment – the prospect of moving out of your home can be even more daunting and not all support services are fully accessible. We consider harassment or anti-social behaviour in the next section Domestic abuse These include physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual forms of abuse. It’s abuse if your partner or a family member: threatens you shoves or pushes you makes you fear for your physical safety puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations frightens you In addition to this, your abuser may: remove equipment that you need to be independent (like your cane or your mobile phone); use your sight loss to taunt or degrade you There is some useful information on domestic abuse and disability on this page: You can get emergency 24-hour help by calling the following Freephone numbers: The National Domestic Violence Helpline Run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge in...

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My current home requires repairs or adaptations;

My Current home requires repairs or adaptations This section covers guidance on repairs or adaptations. Please choose one of the following links to direct you to the appropriate information: I need information on repairs I need information on adaptations Repairs If you rent in the private or social sectors, your landlord is always responsible for repairs to the property.  This includes: The property’s structure and exterior; Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains; Heating and hot water; Gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation; Electrical wiring; Any damage they cause by attempting repairs; Damage due to wear and tear. It is your responsibility as the tenant to report any repairs to your landlord as soon as they arise.  Your tenancy will set out your responsibilities as the tenant to pay for any deliberate or accidental damage to the property.  For example, if you stain or burn a carpet you may be expected to cover the costs of a replacement. When making a complaint, written forms of communication are always useful for keeping track of responses and progress.  Try to keep receipts of any letters posted by recorded delivery or set up a calendar of dates for when you made contact with your landlord or received responses from your landlord in relation to repairs.  With written correspondence remember to provide details such as the date, your address...

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Jargon Buster

Jargon Buster     Jargon Meaning Studio Flat / bedsit A flat or apartment with no separate bedroom, the bed / space for a bed is usually within the living area. Tenure The legal arrangements which give you the right to live in a house or apartment. This might be a tenancy, in which rent is paid to a landlord (who owns the property), and owner-occupancy (in which you own the property). ‘Mixed tenure’ is also possible, in which you own a share of the property and pay rent on the remaining share. Choice-based letting system Instead of offering you a particular property, many councils now run a system in which, once you have been accepted on the waiting list, you can view available properties and bid for them, usually online. Group Homes Group homes are houses which are shared by up to six adults with disabilities. Staff provide support, usually 24 hours a day. Adult placement / supported lodgings These arrangements (which are also often known as Shared Lives) match people who need support with individuals and families in the community, who can provide flexible support and accommodation in their own homes. This might be short term, longer term or just during the day. Support Tenancy Tenancy support aims to help a person with disabilities or other support needs live independently in their own rented flat or house....

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