Living Environments

Why is it an issue?

The home environment plays a significant role in physical and emotional health and wellbeing, which can be addressed through a focus on safety in the home and supporting vulnerable residents. There is a link between cold homes and an increased propensity for falls

What is the position in Devon?

The 2010 national Indices of Deprivation highlighted that housing conditions in Devon are generally poorer than the national average.  The housing stock in Devon is generally older than nationally and many households lack basic amenities.  Around 60% of admissions to hospital for an accidental injury related to an injury which occurred in the home. Fuel poverty in Devon is above the national average, with 1 in 5 rural households classed as fuel poor in the county.

What is the evidence of effective interventions?

Improving heating, thermal insulation and removing dampness from homes can improve the general and respiratory health of children and cardiovascular, respiratory, rheumatoid and mental health in the population. Reducing housing defects can reduce health hazards which occur in the home through disrepair, fire hazards and excess cold. Interventions need to target the most vulnerable populations in the poorest housing with a focus on deprived areas, rough sleepers and the homeless.