Press release

BSA comments on National Housing Federation’s Homes at the Heart campaign

Commenting on the Homes at the Heart campaign release published on 1 July 2020 by the National Housing Federation, Paul Broadhead, BSA Head of Mortgages and Housing said:

“It was an easy decision for the BSA to support the Homes at the Heart campaign, as our members have been heavily invested in achieving ‘housing for all’ for centuries, which today spans all tenures. Building societies understand the challenges presented by the sheer lack of suitable housing, which relates to the years of failure by successive governments to deliver a joined-up housing strategy.

“As lenders, actively supporting shared ownership has been the primary way in which building societies are able to support affordable homes.  Such schemes, usually with a housing association, have become increasingly popular in recent years.  In all, around 17 building societies offer Shared Ownership mortgages.”

“Nationwide Building Society’s solution in particular has included putting their money where their mouth is, by sponsoring the creation of a new community, innovating in the way the local community are engaged from the start and pioneering the design of homes for the future. Nationwide have put quality design and sustainability at the heart of the project. And c. 30% of the homes will be made available as Affordable homes, through shared ownership and affordable rent, via a housing association.”

POOR HOUSING CAUSING HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR NEARLY A THIRD OF BRITS DURING LOCKDOWN

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, according to a new YouGov survey.1 This includes people seeking medical help or taking medication for mental health issues, not getting enough sleep, people experiencing depression or stress, as well as those falling physically ill or catching coronavirus.

Five leading housing organisations - backed by 60 businesses,​ banks, charities and think tanks, including the BSA – 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 coronavirus.

New figures released by the campaign - including an online YouGov survey of 4,116 people and new analysis of the English Housing Survey - reveals the true shape of the country's housing situation during lockdown:

  • A record 3.7m people are living in overcrowded homes, including a record 1.6m children.2
  • 30,000 people are spending lockdown in a home that consists of one room, and more than 3,600 children are spending lockdown in a home made up of two rooms.
  • 62,580 families are living in temporary accommodation, the highest number for 13 years.
  • Millions more people across the country are spending lockdown in homes that are damp and mouldy, insecure or pushing them in to debt.

The lack of space and cramped living conditions has played a big role in causing health problems for these huge numbers of people during lockdown. More than half of those (52%) who said their homes weren’t big enough said they’d suffered from health problems:

  • More than 1 in 10 (11%) of all British adults said they felt depressed during lockdown because of a lack of space in their home.
  • 1 in 20 (5%) of everyone who said they had a lack of space said this had led them to seek medical help or take medication for their mental health.
  • Almost a fifth (19%) of those in cramped conditions said they hadn’t been able to get enough sleep because of the lack of space.

These findings follow a recent review from Public Health England into why BAME people have been worst hit by the pandemic, which 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 ‘Homes at the Heart’ campaign has been set up by the Association of Retained Council Housing, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Crisis, the National Federation of ALMOs and the National Housing Federation. To find out more about the ‘Homes at the Heart’ campaign and see the full list of 61 supporters visit housing.org.uk/HomesAtTheHeart

The full release, including quotes from campaign partners and notes to editors, can be found here.

Contact

Amy McCluskey

Press and Publications Officer

amy.mccluskey@bsa.org.uk

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