Housing and health are intrinsically linked. There is a well-established evidence base which demonstrates the links between the two issues. Homelessness and poor housing can both have a considerable impact on both mental and physical health, resulting in significant costs to health and welfare services and wider society. Ensuring the housing needs of vulnerable residents are met can bring substantial wider benefits.

Poor housing quality is a major issue. Hazards in the home are implicated in up to 50,000 deaths a year and 0.5 million injuries and illnesses requiring medical attention. National studies show that poor housing conditions also contribute to increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), respiratory diseases, depression, anxiety, trips and falls in the elderly and young children.

Social housing in Knowsley is provided by a number of housing associations, also known as Registered Providers, following the completion of the transfer of Knowsley Council housing stock to these bodies in the early 2000s. Knowsley is a member of the Sub Regional Choice Based Lettings Scheme, Property Pool Plus, which replaced the former “waiting list” system held by individual Registered Providers.

A snapshot of the data held within Property Pool Plus as at March 2015 is detailed in Table 3. There are over 2,000 households on the current waiting list. This shows the majority of Knowsley’s existing registrations are for homes for single persons, couples and small families; with much less demand from households with 3 or more children.

Average house prices in Knowsley are low in comparison to nearby areas, and substantially lower than the regional and national averages. Despite this, comparatively low earnings and hence household incomes mean that affordability is a major barrier to home ownership for many Knowsley households. CLG provides consistent data on affordability ratios for Local Authorities

The 2015 Private Sector Housing Condition Survey found an estimated 7,072 Category 1 hazards in Knowsley’s private sector stock, of which over 1,100 are within the privately rented sector. Category 1 hazards include major issues such a lack of adequate heating, fire alarms which aren’t working, a leaking roof, a broken rail on a steep stairway, and a lack of physical security e.g. doors and windows not locking. This means that private rented sector properties are disproportionately affected by these major hazards in comparison to other tenures of properties in Knowsley.

The total cost of mitigating these hazards in Knowsley’s private housing stock is estimated as £15.2 million (£2.6 million in the private rented sector). It is estimated that they will be responsible for over 434 harmful events requiring medical treatment every year. The estimated cost to the NHS of treating accidents and ill-health caused by these hazards is £1.3 million/year and £3.2 million/year to wider society, and around 130 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).

The full JSNA report can be accessed here: Housing JSNA