‘Immediate action’ must be taken to stop housing crisis caused by pandemic, new research argues
Wales faces an “imminent housing crisis” unless “immediate action” is taken to support households affected by the pandemic, according to a Welsh think tank.
One in ten households live in insecure housing, with 80,000 households having already had to, or been notified that they will have to find a new home, according to the Bevan Foundation.
There are also concerns that the situation could deteriorate further. The think tank warned that some of the temporary protections that had supported people on the lowest incomes over the course of the pandemic were now coming to an end, despite a challenging economic landscape.
Whilst there are signs that the economy may be beginning to recover as restrictions are eased, this is not yet benefitting low-income households. More than one in five households (21%) with a net income of less than £20,000 actually saw their income drop between January and May 2021.
Dr Steffan Evans of the Bevan Foundation said that “everyone deserves to live in a warm and secure home, but our latest research shows that too many people are denied this.
“Both the UK and Welsh Governments did the right thing at the outset of the pandemic by protecting people’s homes and supporting homeless people. Unless immediate action is taken all that good work will be undone.”
The challenging landscape meant that low-income households had also struggled to meet other costs over recent months, the think tank said.
Thousands of Welsh households have had to cut back on everyday items such as heating (16%) and food for adults (15%). Others had fallen into debt with 10% of Welsh households falling behind on a bill and 17% borrowing money to pay a bill. Households also expected this situation to deteriorate further.
“The past fifteen months have been difficult for all of us, but they have been especially difficult for low-income households who have been far more likely to have had to cut back on everyday items or to have fallen into debt,” Steffan Evans said.
“More than one in five households are already expecting to have to cut back further on their day-day spending over the next three months. Pulling support away from these households as restrictions are eased risks making life even harder.”