Mental Health Problems can develop in poor housing

  • New research shows that councils, landlords and other agencies should work together to help vulnerable people living in bedsits.

    "Pollution, infestation, living in unpopular areas and in high-rise flats can all contribute to mental illness as well as to drug and alcohol problems."

    The report released yesterday arose from concerns about people living in bedsits being marginalised in an area of Essex.

    Researchers interviewed 19 bedsit residents and a number of landlords for Understanding the relationship between mental health and bedsits in a seaside town.

    They found that many bedsit residents moved into their current accommodation after relationship breakdown, bereavement, mental illness or release from prison. It found that the absence of safe, stable housing and living close to others with problems could worsen tenants' state of mind.

    It also warned increasing numbers of people will have to live in houses of multiple occupancy as a result of an increase in age at which claimants can claim enough benefit for a one bedroom flat from 25 to 35 years. The change to the shared room rate will lead to an extra 88,000 people having to share accommodation nationally, the report warns.

    Caroline Barratt, of the University of Essex, co-author of the report, said:

    [The report] highlights the problems that can emerge when people with similar problems, including drug and alcohol misuse live within the same property, which is also located in a street with many similar properties

    The research recommends councils and landlords develop stronger relationships to help ease tenants into longer-term accommodation. It also suggests landlords need information packs on local services to help their tenants, and suggests landlords could be educated to minimise the risks to tenants.

    Source: Inside Housing

     

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