From institutions to community living - Part III: outcomes for persons with disabilities FRA Opinions

Article 19 requires that all persons with disabilities be able to choose where and with whom to live, on an equal basis with others. A range of appropriate living arrangements must be available in the community to realise this choice. However, persons with disabilities are less satisfied than other persons with their household accommodation, this report shows. This suggests a need to assess the suitability of housing stock and planning policies to better meet the accommodation requirements of persons with disabilities – for example, in terms of location, accessibility or disability-related adaptations.

Institutionalised settings inhibit persons with disabilities from exercising choice and control over their daily lives. To that degree, they are therefore incompatible with Article 19. This includes not having to resort to living in institutionalised settings because of a lack of viable alternatives. The FRA report Choice and control: the right to independent living highlights this.

Individualised, user-controlled support is essential to achieve independent living. It empowers persons with disabilities to be included in the community. This requires both that appropriate services be in place and that they respect the dignity and individual autonomy of persons with disabilities. There are gaps in the provision of community-based services in EU Member States and, where available, they are often not sufficient to meet users’ needs, this report suggests.

Personal assistance services are particularly well placed to offer persons with disabilities choice and control over their support. However, such services are not available in all Member States, FRA evidence shows.

Being able to access services and facilities for the general population, such as education, transport and housing, on an equal basis with others enables persons with disabilities to participate actively and meaningfully in the lives of their communities. Persons with disabilities are more likely than other persons to face barriers in accessing services that are commonly available to the public, this report shows. Making services responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities has major implications for the way services across different sectors are provided. This is particularly the case in terms of ensuring accessibility, equal treatment and non-discrimination.

One way to improve accessibility is to develop minimum standards and guidelines on accessibility, according to FRA’s human rights indicators on the right to political participation of persons with disabilities.