3 Initiatives in 2020 to Improve Housing for a Healthier Population

3 Initiatives in 2020 to Improve Housing for a Healthier Population

The connections between health and housing are well understood, however, there remains much work to ensure that housing is a contributor to good health – for everyone. In this article, published by the National Housing Federation, a few statistics stand out:

  • A recent new YouGov survey found that nearly a third (31%) of adults in Britain – 15.9m people – have had mental or physical health problems because of the condition of, or lack of space in, their home during lockdown.
  • A recent review from Public Health England into why BAME people have been worst hit by the pandemic, found that issues of overcrowding and housing conditions contributed to the increased spread of coronavirus among these communities.
  • The main cause of these housing problems is the severe lack of housing in Britain, especially social housing. A shortage of homes means growing families have nowhere affordable to move to, leading to overcrowding. 
  • Meanwhile, rent in social homes is typically half the cost of privately rented homes, making them much more affordable for people on low incomes. On average, social homes are also of a better standard than those rented from private landlords.

The good news is that organisations including the National Housing Federation, the Town and Country Planning Institute, Homes England, NHS England & NHS Improvement and more are driving positive action for change.

3 Initiatives Bringing Together Housing & Health:

1. ‘Homes at the Heart’ campaign

Five leading housing organisations, backed by 60 businesses, ​banks, charities and think tanks, have now launched a campaign to warn that the country’s housing crisis is making lockdown even more unbearable for millions.

The ‘Homes at the Heart’ campaign is urging government to put funding for new and existing social homes at the heart of the country’s recovery from COVID-19.

To find out more about the campaign and the pandemic’s impact on poor housing and health, please click here.

2. The Healthy Homes Act

Good design, architecture, planning, place-making, housing and access to fresh air, green spaces and nature are all vital to our health and wellbeing. COVID-19 has highlighted as much.

The Healthy Homes Act is a collaborative campaign calling on government to adopt a Healthy Homes Bill which would require all new homes and neighbourhoods to be of decent quality, and effectively outlaw those which undermine residents’ health and wellbeing.

To find out more please click here.

3. Building for a Healthy Life guidance

New “healthy housing” guidance commissioned by NHS England & NHS Improvement was released in July 2020 to encourage healthier lifestyles to be planned into the design of new housing developments.

The design toolkit covers the priorities for creating healthier communities, including improved walking, cycling and public transport links, with reduced carbon emissions and better air quality. Master plans should be based on an assessment of local health and care needs with the creation of integrated neighbourhoods based on ‘tenure neutral’ housing and well-defined public spaces.

To find out more please click here

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