Poor quality housing affects health and increases risks of homelessness

At Restore we take pride in the quality of the accommodation we offer residents and are constantly working to upgrade facilities. Providing a lovely home makes such a large difference in our residents’ overall wellbeing. This in turn gives motivation to tackle complex needs elsewhere in their lives.

Our focus is to help those who have become homeless to be provided a home and in due course able to move on into their own rental accommodation in local community. But there are millions of people who are not homeless but having to live in poor quality housing affected by damp, mould, and inadequate heating. The current energy price rises will affect those already living in poverty and hardship. Damp housing conditions will only get worse when unable to pay for adequate heating.

Citizens Advice Bureau (https://zurl.co/Ncpb) estimate 350,000 renters are behind with their rent with the size of arrears having risen 24% between November 2020 and April 2021. As the Government Covid rent eviction moratorium unwinds, many of these renters are at risk of future eviction.

Foodbanks are bracing themselves for a surge in claimants as the Universal Credit £20 Covid top-up is withdrawn. According to the Trussell Trust, 88,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber fear they will be forced to skip meals (https://zurl.co/8gaQ).

Shelter estimates that 1.9m households could be suffering physical and mental problems as a result of poor housing conditions as well as uncertainty caused by struggles to pay the rent and repeated evictions. The waiting list for affordable homes is set to double to 2.1m people (https://zurl.co/ZbUr).

All these pressures on renters are having an effect on their physical and mental health. This in turn is putting the NHS under increased pressure just at a time when Covid cases are rising again (https://zurl.co/IWeo).

This leaves millions of renters living in homes that make them sick because they are mouldy, cold, unaffordable and grossly insecure. None of these figures appear on homeless statistics as the renters are all housed. But the impact of poor-quality housing is having on their health and wellbeing will place many individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless unless interventions take place. In a worrying report by the Kings Fund (https://zurl.co/Ea0b), these long-term health and wellbeing impacts on more deprived areas is negatively impacting life expectancy by up to 10 years compared with the wealthiest areas.

In response to the projected demand, Restore will increase its bed capacity by 17% during 2021. As national events unfold, Restore will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and respond.

Please check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RestoreYork/ to become a friend and get regular updates on what we do. If you would like to support our work, please click on the link https://www.restoreyork.co.uk/donate/ . If you cannot give, perhaps you could sign up to our newsletter https://www.restoreyork.co.uk/contact/. I would love for you to be part of our journey with our residents.

Every blessing.

Duncan Craig

Restore York CEO