In November we published research jointly commissioned by ARCH,
the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Federation
of ALMOs (NFA) which demonstrated that a post-pandemic building
boom of 100,000 new social homes for rent each year would not only
meet demand for affordable homes but deliver a £14.5 billion boost
to the economy - the equivalent to over half of the entire annual
economic performance of Birmingham.
Our report, "Building Post-Pandemic
, warned that rough sleeping, homelessness and sofa
surfing is only likely to increase in the coming months and
estimated that spiralling council housing waiting lists could
be set to nearly double to 2 million households next year as a
result of the economic impact of COVID-19 with a large-scale social
house-building programme by councils offering a cheaper, safe and
high-quality accommodation for struggling families priced out of
the private housing market.
The report highlighted that the pandemic has had a
disproportionate health and financial impact on already
disadvantaged groups, with the most deprived areas of England
seeing mortality rates for COVID-19 double that of the least
deprived, while ethnic minorities have seen their household incomes
reduce by a larger percentage than those of white
Now the Health Foundation, an independent
charity committed to bringing about better health and health care
for people in the UK, has highlighted why housing problems such as
overcrowding, poor quality and unaffordable homes are a threat to
health and why better housing is crucial for our health and the
The Health Foundation highlights that while some have weathered
lockdown in large homes with gardens and plenty of living space,
others have struggled in overcrowded and unsafe conditions.
Overcrowding is associated with the spread of COVID-19, making
self-isolation more difficult and allowing the virus to spread
through more people if one becomes infected.
The analysis by the Health Foundation shows that people's
housing environments have affected their ability to shield
themselves and others from COVID-19. People have been encouraged to
stay in their homes as much as possible, but within-household
transmission has played a serious role in the spread of the virus
and overcrowding, which has been increasing in the years prior to
the pandemic, makes it harder to self-isolate and shield, and may
have contributed to higher death rates in poorer areas.
The analysis shows that mental ill-health has been a particular
issue for those in overcrowded households during the pandemic,
especially in the first lockdown and the chronic lack of affordable
housing options, combined with years of reductions in support for
housing costs, have led us to this point.
The Health Foundation recommends that major changes to housing
policy, such as more secure private tenancies, reversing cuts to
housing benefit and building more social housing, are needed to
reduce the impact of poor-quality homes on people's health.
of the full report and analysis is available on the Health
ARCH will be contacting the Health Foundation to discuss whether
there are opportunities for closer collaboration in the future to
help make the case for more social housing.