Did you know that your home can directly affect your health and wellbeing? Even if you don’t notice it in a straightforward way, the place you live in may either cause your health to improve or deteriorate.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand how good quality housing is important for your health, as well as the wellbeing of your loved ones.
What Defines Good Quality Housing?
Good quality housing should be:
- Stable and secure
- Safe and comfortable
- Connected to work, community, and services
The absence of one or more of these factors presents a concern that unlocks a new opportunity for improvement. After all, a home is more than just a roof above your head, and your health is more valuable than you might think.
According to the National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS), we spend 87% of our time indoors. That’s right, the biggest percentage of your life is spent indoors, so it comes as no surprise that housing quality can impact a person’s wellbeing.
Inconvenient housing exposes the individuals within the household to health hazards that lead to major complications and illnesses.
How Does Housing Quality Affect Our Health?
There are multiple health factors that housing quality has a direct impact on. These include:
The safety profile of your housing can make it more likely for you to develop severe health problems, both in the short and long term. In general, health risks at homes in the UK are classified into 4 types, which include:
Some of the most common household chemical hazards include radon, asbestos, lead, and carbon monoxide. These elements and compounds may cause severe health complications such as developmental disorders, nervous system illnesses, asthma, and some types of cancer.
Biological health hazards encompass allergens like rodents, mould, dirt, dust, and pollen. These allergens can be particularly problematic for children and anyone suffering from asthma and other respiratory complications.
Inconvenient in-door temperature, poor ventilation, and deteriorating walls/roofs are potential physical hazards that may lead to asthma, injury, respiratory illnesses, and other complications.
Social factors like lack of security, overcrowding, and poverty can affect your mental health and immunity system, making it more likely for you to develop infectious diseases.
Affordability of housing is often neglected when it comes to health considerations. Even if a person has enough money to buy a house, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t account for their day-to-day expenses on necessities and even luxuries.
If you live in a fancy, large house, but you can barely afford a per cent of the necessities such as healthy food, healthcare visits, maintenance, and energy, this may ultimately affect your health and wellbeing.
And it’s not just about your physical health; mental health is also a contributing factor. For instance, if you can’t afford occasional night-outs to break out of routines, your mental health will be affected negatively.
Neighbourhoods that live close to or under the poverty line usually don’t have access to essential amenities like methods of transportation, quality schools, and of course, jobs.
It’s also worthy to point out that minorities are more likely to live in low-income neighbourhoods. This is largely a direct effect of discriminatory housing policies that favour specific races or nationalities over others.
People living in low-income neighbourhoods are also less likely to be financially stable. Not to mention, they’re linked to higher crime rates.
Damp homes are much more likely to cause early deaths. In addition, they can be a direct cause of life-threatening respiratory illnesses, particularly in older people and children.
Such homes may also lead to other consequences because of their poor energy efficiency. People who live in cold houses spend more cash on energy, placing more financial stress on their shoulders.
A home is all about providing a sense of security and stability for the tenants or owners. It’s affected by all of the previous factors we discussed, including safety, affordability, and neighbourhood.
If any of these parameters aren’t suitable, people may keep moving from one home to another and eventually become homeless.
Most people who experienced homelessness were, in fact, not homeless in the first place. Shelters are crowded with people who once lived in real homes.
The Relationship Between Housing Quality and the COVID-19 Pandemic
According to a research article published in 2020, people residing in lower-income neighbourhoods, particularly the racial and ethnic minorities, were at greater risk of developing COVID-19 than people living in high-income neighbourhoods.
This is because residents of low-income neighbourhoods faced barriers that prevented them from staying safe, such as overcrowded buildings.
What Can You Do About It?
There are several ways to improve the quality of your housing. For instance, if you live in an unaffordable house, consider moving to a less-fancy one somewhere in a good neighbourhood. Sacrificing some space in exchange for affordability can significantly enhance your wellbeing.
Additionally, you need to identify and eliminate the sources of health hazards, including chemical, biological, and other hazards. Social factors can be tricky to handle since they’re tied to your neighbourhood, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the initiative.
You might also consider conducting regular maintenance and repair sessions. These are usually your landlord’s responsibility to handle, but in case the landlord doesn’t invest enough in them, making a complaint would be necessary.
Good Quality Housing – Final Words
To summarise, it’s essential that you don’t underestimate the effect of good quality housing on your health.
According to Public Health England:
the right home environment is critical to our health and wellbeing; good housing helps people stay healthy and provides a base from which to sustain a job, contribute to the community, and achieve a decent quality of life
So, what are you waiting for? Book your dream home now and protect your health!