Good Practice: Operation Sign-Up
Operation Sign-Up 2001-the present
|Organisation||Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA)|
Operation Sign-Up 2011 – the present: is an Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) housing initiative, which encourages and supports people with disabilities who wish to live in their own homes, but are unable to do so from their own resources, to apply for mainstream social housing through City and County councils.
Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) regards the availability of accommodation of a suitable design and type, in a fitting location, with the required personal supports, as a basic right. The availability of such accommodation directly supports people with a disability in participating in, and contributing to, the life of the community in which they live.
Within IWA a national housing working group was established, consisting of IWA staff and members involved and with an interest in housing, both with and without disability. In developing the Operation Sign-Up initiative this working group undertook consultation with staff and members at local IWA Resource Centre level. Contact was also made with the 34 local Authorities and their feedback was incorporated into the final Operation Sign-Up project.
What was very clear from the outset was that suitable social housing is very difficult to source, that people with disabilities often have very specific housing and accommodation requirements and that people with disabilities often require support to negotiate a successful housing outcome allied with the provision of easy to understand information on all aspects of housing and related matters.
The development of Operation Sign-Up involved taking account of all of the above including the  different types of housing that people would be required, it also used real life experiences of many of the 20,000 IWA members to demonstrate some of the barriers that people encounter and also to showcase some successful social housing outcomes.
The IWA housing initiative included a new housing website which provides a step-by-step guide to applying for social housing. IWA has broken down the ten steps involved in the housing application process and has also listed all other relevant information an individual will require during and subsequent to the application process; such as contact details for local councils, information links to local health centres and tax offices, and also details of all local IWA centres.
 Independent Living; Supported Independent Living; Group or shared accommodation
The age range of people seeking support within the Operation Sign-Up Programme is from 18 yrs. upwards, men and women. There are no admissions criteria for IWA’s Operation-Sign Up only that a person makes an enquiry and requests support.
| Community partners
The main providers of social housing are City and County Councils and Approved Housing Bodies. To be in a position to take the experiences of IWA to a policy level, IWA is represented on many of the developing Housing and Disability Steering Groups presently being established in City and County Councils. IWA is also a member of the National Advisory Group on the Implementation of the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016. In promoting commonality in relation to housing issues for people with a disability across disability groups and organisations IWA is part of the Disability Federation of Ireland and Irish Council for Social Housing special needs Housing Groups
|Conclusions and results||
It is widely recognised by the disability sector, the statutory housing sector and also by the Department of the Environment that the numbers of people with disabilities on Council housing lists is not representative of people with disabilities’ accommodation/housing needs. When planning Operation Sign-Up the Programme was timed to bring the attention of people with disabilities to the 2011 Triennial Housing Needs Assessment and the upcoming National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability; both undertaken by the Department of Environment (Triennial Housing Needs assessment is a national count of households on all Council Housing Lists undertaken every three years by the Department of the Environment).
The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability 2011-2016 was launched by the Department of the Environment in October 2011.
The Operation Sign-Up Programme was launched in Dublin City Council offices by IWA in partnership with three of the four
Since 2011 the Operation Sign-Up Programme has become part of the ongoing work and services within IWA; every three years prior to the National Triennial Housing Needs Assessment the Programme is again highlighted within and external to IWA to bring particular attention to the relevance of the Programme
Milestones noted throughout the Programme included:
More information at: