Howard Chapman recommends ‘Good Housing: Better Health’, the latest report from the Housing and Communities Research Group that includes an action plan to get housing quality back on the policy agenda and improve understanding of how significantly good housing contributes to better health.
The report highlights the one-sided approach to housing policy today. It calls for a more balanced assessment of the country’s housing requirements and a wider recognition of issues related to housing quality, such as health, energy efficiency, poverty and social inclusion.
The report says the UK housing crisis emphasises the need to build more homes. However most housing need, demand and movement is in the existing housing stock and it is essential that public policy addresses the condition, affordability, suitability, appropriateness and security of this housing. Too little attention is given to how the existing housing stock facilitates labour mobility and recruitment; is a key resource for economic and social development; and often, a major cost to public services.
One fifth of the housing stock in England does not meet the Decent Home Standard and one third of households renting privately are in housing below this standard. Many funds for housing renewal have been withdrawn, with profound and damaging implications for the nation’s health.
The paper argues for a more comprehensive, less one-sided approach to housing policy. It puts forward an action plan to get housing quality back on the policy agenda. And it calls for a wider recognition of housing-related issues such as health, energy efficiency, poverty and social inclusion.
Good Housing: Better Health was prepared by an informal partnership of academics, housing and regeneration practitioners, and housing and health researchers concerned with improving the United Kingdom’s housing. The group includes three members of Housing and Communities Research: Alan Murie, Jon Stevens and Christopher Watson.
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