Housing tenure and wellbeing

Evidence shows social housing can provide the same practical and emotional benefits as other forms of housing.

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New research challenges housing stereotypes – social housing can provide the same practical and emotional benefits as other forms of housing.

This is the first time in the UK that the link between housing tenure and measures of wellbeing have been explored with a bespoke survey, backed up with in-depth interviews. Findings include:

  • Social housing can provide the same practical and emotional benefits as other forms of housing, and more so in certain measures – but we need to eliminate the stigma around social housing
  • The likelihood of someone who grew up in social housing being employed is no less than those who grew up in homes owned by their parents. But this isn’t the case for younger respondents who grew up in social housing more recently
  • Social renters are more likely than home owners to have lower anxiety levels.

With this insight and recent new investment promised by the government, it’s timely to argue that social housing can and should be a tenure of choice – and not only one made available to the most vulnerable.

This is according to a new research report by VIVID in association with the Centre for Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) based at the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester.

Homes & Wellbeing – breaking down housing stereotypes’ which is being launched today (30 November), challenges the perceptions and reality of those living in social rented and owner-occupied housing.

The research is based on survey responses from over 2,000 housing association customers in Hampshire. It’s the first part of what will form a national picture as it’s rolled out amongst other housing association customers across the country.

Mark Perry, chief executive of VIVID said: “Our vision’s to provide more homes and bright futures for everyone. The government is making some positive changes with more investment in housebuilding, but there’s a lot more still to be done to really solve the housing crisis.

“Our research shows that social housing can have a positive impact on measures of wellbeing – more so in some instances than home ownership and as such we challenge the view that everyone should aspire to own their own home.

“Social housing has a really important role in aiding the wellbeing of many more people, and it’s all about ensuring this can be seen as a tenure of choice alongside other tenures. This is why we still need much more investment to build homes for social rent and need to work hard to remove the stigma attached to it from both within and outside of the sector.”

Professor Andrew Lymer, director of the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM), University of Birmingham said: “Across the UK, over four million people who own their own home are living below the poverty line.

“So, instead of extending owner occupation as widely as possible, which puts many people at the margins of their financial capacity, our research shows that growing the stock of social housing and distributing this valuable good to a wider group of people, may produce a wider total benefit to society.

“With new investment welcome and a rush to build more homes, it’s important to make sure the right type of homes and communities are built to give everyone the best chance in life.”

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