Research by the Northern Housing Consortium has highlighted pressures felt by those living in poor-quality housing in the North during lockdown.

The physical and mental impact of the pandemic, coupled with the restrictions enforced, has resulted in significantly more time spent in unsuitable accommodation, taking its toll on many. The report also expressed fears of a second lockdown in the winter months ahead, and the potentially damaging effects this may have.

Chanel Williams, Director of Pathway Homes Group commented: “Undoubtedly the pandemic took us all be surprise and we are dealing with an unknown. The restrictions brought on by Covid-19 affected everyone in a different way but for those living in poor-quality housing, the impact has been exceptionally hard hitting. With the highest level restrictions in place across the North of England as well as full lockdown in Wales and Northern Ireland, we must act now and introduce appropriate support measures.”

The Nationwide Foundation, the Northern Housing Consortium and the University of Huddersfield, interviewed tenants predominantly living in private-rented sector properties between May-June 2020. Research found that many tenants were already living with longstanding repair and quality issues which where not dealt with whilst urgent repairs were delayed. A general overuse of homes exacerbated conditions.

Chanel continued: “As a provider of social housing specifically for those classed as vulnerable, we are committed to providing the highest quality accommodation to help support tenants through challenging periods.

“We recognise how being limited and restricted largely to the home will result in an increase in utilities and increased wear and tear. We continue to monitor the situation closely, creating open channels of communication and introducing processes to ensure all tenants’ wellbeing needs are met, taking a proactive rather than a reactive approach where possible.”

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of Northern Housing Consortium has been quoted in Inside Housing: “It is clear from this research that run-down properties are resulting in run-down people. Action must be taken now to support those people affected. We need to see immediate steps from government to strengthen lifelines to keep people afloat this winter.

“But in the longer term, we must learn lessons from lockdown and renew our housing, so we have properties available that are fit for people to live and thrive in, not just live and survive.”