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Delivering Healthy Housing: a new future for housing renewal?

Location
Room UG06, The Murray Learning Centre
Dates
Thursday 10 May 2018 (15:00-17:00)
Contact

To book your place, please email Helen Harris:  h.m.a.harris@bham.ac.uk

Delivering Health Homes house
Delivering Healthy Housing examines what can be done to improve poor quality housing that damages people’s health.

The housing system is failing.  Not enough houses are being built at prices or rents that people can afford and the quality of existing housing is often poor.  Poor housing damages people’s health, wellbeing and life chances and adversely affects the nation’s productivity. 

20% of households in England live in dwellings below the decent home standard and for private sector tenants the figure is even higher at 27%.  The UK has the oldest housing stock and the highest medical costs associated with inadequate housing of any EU member state.

The improvement of housing standards has not been high on the government’s policy agenda and for local authorities the loss of financial resources and specialist staff since 2010 makes it impossible for them to follow the housing improvement policies that were often so successful in the past. 

Recent events, including the disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017; the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Healthy Homes and Buildings; the inquiry into the role of local authorities in the private rented sector by the House of Commons Select Committee on Housing, Communities and Local Government;  and the passage of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017 sponsored by Karen Buck MP have led to a more general discussion on healthy housing and the need for significant changes to housing policy throughout the United Kingdom. 

These developments, many of which are reflected in the paper Delivering Healthy Housing by the Academic-Practitioner Partnership, raise the prospect that for the first time in many years the needs of the existing housing stock and the people who live, or aspire to live, there, may begin to be recognised again as a priority for housing and health policy.  Could this lead to a new future for housing renewal and how might this be achieved?  What scope is, or should there be in this process for local authorities, housing associations and community-led initiatives?

Programme

3.00   Welcome Tea and Coffee  

3.15   Introduction Professor David Mullins

3.20   Delivering healthy housing: a new future for housing renewal?

           Chris Watson, Alan Murie and Stephen Battersby

 4.00   Questions and discussion

 5.00   Seminar closes  

 The Academic-Practitioner Partnership

Today’s speakers, Chris Watson, Alan Murie and Stephen Battersby are members of the Academic-Practitioner Partnership, an informal group of academics, housing and regeneration practitioners and housing and health researchers. Our focus is on housing and health. We want to see better housing conditions in the United Kingdom. We believe this will bring many other social and economic benefits.

The group was formed in August 2015 when we met to discuss our concern about the lack of attention being given by government to the problem of older housing. Some of us had worked on housing and urban renewal programmes in the 1970s and 1980s when the housing stock was seen by government as a national asset. At that time, the renewal of older housing was a priority supported by all political parties, and an important activity in local government, especially in the larger towns and cities.

In July 2016, we published a paper, Good Housing: Better Health  which brought together some of the latest evidence about poor housing conditions in the UK. We presented this to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings at its meeting in October 2016; and have contributed to subsequent meetings of the Group, including giving oral evidence in November 2017.

Our second paper, Delivering Healthy Housing was published in March 2018.

All are welcome to this free Housing and Communities Research Network Seminar.

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