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24/02/2020

Affordable housing crisis is a strain on mental health

Words: Laura Edgar
Affordable homes / Shutterstock: 516642517

A national poll suggests that unaffordable housing is affecting the decisions that British people make as well as putting a strain on their mental health.

The YouGov poll*, undertaken for the Affordable Housing Commission, suggests that housing stress is a “major worry” for people and a “strain” on their mental health.

One in eight of those polled said their mental health has been negatively affected by their housing situation, which equates to 13 per cent. This rises to one in four – or 25 per cent – for those who live in housing that is unaffordable, meaning the rent or mortgage is equal to more than a third of their total household income.

The poll also finds that 13 per cent of UK adults polled* – under the age of 45 in a couple – have delayed or not had children because of their housing situation.

The commission notes that this has potentially affected 1.8 million people nationally.

The poll shows that 31 per cent of parents with grown-up children aged 18-plus who still live at home do not expect them to be able to move out – or believe it will take 10 or more years for them to do so. The commission says this equates to 2.4 million nationally.

In addition, the research indicates that 10 per cent now live with family or friends, and when just 25-34-year-olds are considered, this increases to 18 per cent.

Lord Richard Best, chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, said: “The housing system is hindering, not helping, millions of people – particularly those who are putting off big life decisions because of it. Unaffordable housing, especially in the private rented sector, is now a serious strain on people’s mental health and a barrier to having a better life. We need a fundamental rethink and structural change to rebalance it and ensure it works now and for future generations.”

*The survey polled 2,000 adults in the UK.

The “independent, non-partisan” Affordable Housing Commission was established by the Smith Institute with the support of the Nationwide Foundation. It is examining the cause and effects of the affordability crisis and is expected to publish a series of recommendations in March 2020.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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