People in lower quality housing have already suffered throughout the lockdown according to research performed by the Northern Housing Consortium, and that suffering isn’t expected to let up as we potentially face another lockdown.
Those housed in the North were especially exposed to the comparative lack of housing investment compared to the south, this meant that when lockdown started in March of 2020 households were already living with longstanding repair and quality issues. These issues went unaddressed due to the essential work being postponed. As a result many had to see out their months of lockdown in housing that wasn’t truly up to living standard which, according to the Northern Housing Consortium, took a physical and mental toll.
No one yet knows if we will experience a Winter lockdown, but you can be sure that there are going to be serious restrictions that will likely greatly limit the amount of time people will be able to get out of their house. However, if these restrictions are anything like those experienced earlier this year then the physical and mental toll it will have on occupants of low quality housing will be greatly exacerbated. There is a serious worry that people situated in homes which are not developed correctly to handle the colder weather, could be putting added stress onto their immune system and would seriously hinder the recovery from Covid-19 if they catch it.
It is also very likely that poorly developed homes are going to hit the pockets of their owners this coming winter. A lot of these homes needing modern windows and insulation which cost money to add to a home but ultimately saves money in the long run. People can’t afford the initial investment and so end up spending more in the winter months due to escaped heat. This issue resolves itself a little bit when people are working and are out of the house for extended periods of time because there is no need to have the heating on in the house while there is no one there. However, if we do end up in a winter lockdown then people will have no choice but to stay at home and spend more money, in the midst of a recession, just to stay warm.
It is clear that action must be taken to support those most vulnerable, particularly through these winter months. As Tracey Harrison, Chief executive of the Northern Housing Consortium, stated “It is clear from this research that run-down properties are resulting in run-down people.”