Housing for Health report fron coverWest Yorkshire and Harrogate Partnership publishes Housing for Health Report (23 October 2020)

This new report and the work undertaken to gather the supporting information within, was prepared and developed prior to COVID-19. Unfortunately, as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the publication and launch of the report was delayed until October 2020.

The pandemic has resulted in a significant impact on the housing sector. In August 2020, the Health Foundation reported that the impact of housing on health is likely to have been greater than ever during the lockdown period. They reference research published by the National Housing Federation from June 2020 which indicates 31% of Adults in the UK had experienced mental or physical health problems linked to the condition of their home or their lack of space.

Furthermore, the recent publication “Homes, Health and Covid-19” by the Centre for Ageing Better and The King’s Fund (September 2020) highlights around one in five excess deaths during winter are attributed to cold housing. It goes on to report that should social distancing measures continue through winter, the impact on of fuel poverty on both physical and mental health could potentially escalate and that spending extended periods exposed to damp or mouldy conditions is “likely to exacerbate or induce respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, in turn increasing the risk of contracting COVID-19”

The same report highlights the significant impact of overcrowding and the associated, increased risk of viral transmission. The report by the Health Foundation reaffirms the importance of reducing overcrowding, and mitigating housing insecurity to help meet the health needs of our population in the years to come. Research by Shelter produced in June 2020 indicates the UK can expect to see 218,000 fewer homes being built over the next five years in comparison to Government targets prior to the pandemic and 4,600 fewer homes for social rent.

The importance of our housing initiatives across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will be crucial in supporting our health economy. The Covid-19 pandemic has put the basic need for good quality housing and support to sustain a decent home, in the spotlight.  The Partnership’s report’ Housing for Health’ provides an opportunity to accelerate and develop our shared learning and adopt best practice across our geography. This in turn will help address inequalities and improve the standard of living for people living across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

We will be using the learning from this report to develop our system-wide work plans and progress our ambitions.