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Poor Housing Harms Health Of 20% Renters In England

Poor housing is harming the health of one in five renters in England, with mould, damp and cold the main triggers of sickness, a major survey by the housing charity Shelter has revealed.

Approximately 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, polling of over 3,000 private renters suggests. A quarter of all renters said they were affected by damp and mould and by being unable to heat their homes. They were three times more likely to say housing was harming their health than those without the problems. The study also detailed how almost one in four renters said their housing situation had left them feeling “stressed and anxious” since the start of the pandemic.

The findings came as councils warned that waiting lists for affordable housing are set to double next year to as many as 2.1m households. One in 10 of those in the queue have already been waiting for over five years. The Covid pandemic has dented housebuilding with at least 100,000 fewer homes built by 2023, according to the Local Government Association which anticipates rising demand in the coming months as the cost of living crisis helps drive up rent arrears and evictions.

 “The cost of poor housing is spilling out into overwhelmed GP surgeries, mental health services, and hours lost from work,” said Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate. “The new housing secretary must get a grip on the housing crisis and tackle a major cause of ill health. Listening to the calls flooding into our helpline there is no doubt that health and housing go hand in hand. Yet, millions of renters are living in homes that make them sick because they are mouldy, cold, unaffordable and grossly insecure.”

(source)