Why is it an issue?
The age, condition and high cost of housing in Devon have a number of health consequences relating to overcrowding, fuel poverty and excessive cold, respiratory problems and emotional wellbeing. Poor housing has an impact on the health outcomes for children and older people in particular, including psychological distress and mental disorders, with people in crowded conditions tending to suffer from multiple deprivation
What is the position in Devon?
The availability of housing in Devon is worse than the national average, with average house prices 10 times average salaries. Vulnerable households account for just under a fifth of the population living in private rented housing in Devon. There was a 25% increase in the number of rough sleepers in Devon from autumn 2010 to autumn 2011. Over 2,000 households in Devon registered for social housing with a child under five years are living in an overcrowded situation.
What is the evidence of effective interventions?
A number of initiatives are currently in place to address affordability and volume of housing including extra care housing, domestic violence support schemes and initiatives to provide adaptations to enable people to stay in their homes for longer and address overcrowding. The use of personalised budgets for rough sleepers has been shown to enable long term rough sleepers to come off the streets and plan for the future. The future challenge relates to a lack of funding programmes, in the form of grants or loans, for owners to improve the existing housing stock alongside a reduction in housing development impacting on the future supply of affordable housing.