What makes us healthy?

The Health Foundation has published What makes us healthy?

This infographic is part of a new series of infographics and accompanying blogs and commentaries to describe and explain the social determinants of health in an accessible and engaging way. This infographic shows the extent to which health is primarily shaped by factors outside the direct influence of healthcare and invites people to look at this bigger picture.

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Health and housing

Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network has published Health and housing: building the evidence base.

house-310496_1280This paper reviews the evidence from projects and pilot initiatives which bring together health and housing, with a particular focus on older people. It suggests that closer working between the NHS and the housing sector can help reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits, speed up the discharge of older patients and maintain the independence of older people.

Tackling poverty through housing and planning policy in city regions

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published ‘Tackling poverty through housing and planning policy in city regions’.

This research draws on stakeholders in city regions to identify good practice and what more could be done through housing and planning policy to reduce or mitigate poverty. It finds that:

  • Combined authorities are well placed to lead on poverty reduction, given their central role in the devolution process, growing focus on poverty and inequality, constituent authorities’ housing and planning expertise, and the ability to co-ordinate across multiple policy areas.
  • Further action could be taken in two key areas: linking housing development to poverty reduction, and improving conditions in the private rented sector.

Read the report here

Improving health through the home

Resources to inform local action to ensure that everyone has a home in which to start, live and work, and age well.

home

This guide produced by Public Health England describes why investing in improving the home or housing circumstances may be an effective means to:

  • improving health and wellbeing
  • reducing health inequalities
  • preventing, delaying and reducing demand for health care and social care

To support and inform local action, links are provided to the main sources of data, evidence and guidance. A checklist suggests the questions that should be asked locally of commissioning plans to ensure that home, health and wellbeing are considered in all policies.

Behind the Headlines: Older people who privately rent their homes

A report published by Age UK ‘Behind the Headlines: Older people who privately rent their homes’ has revealed the reality of life for people over 65 at the bottom of the private rented sector.

  • The report is based on frequent calls to the charity’s advice line about problems with privately rented accommodation
  • Age UK has found that many older private tenants are living in appalling conditions with disinterested landlords and negligent letting agents
  • The number of older people renting in the private sector is set to soar in coming years.

Private renting: the future for older people

Currently, households aged over 65 account for fewer than one in ten of all those living in the private rented sector.

This is a rapidly increasing housing option for older people, with 200,000 joining the rental market in the last four years. Estimates show that a third of over-60s could be living in private rented accommodation by 2040.

The report recommends that:

  • Environmental health departments should be properly resourced to carry out their duties and take proactive steps where necessary.
  • Ensure that older people and their relatives can enforce their rights and improve their conditions without repercussions.
  • Older people should be offered flexible tenancies, improve accessibility and heating standards, and offer better protection from bad landlords.
  • Privately rented properties should be comfortable, warm and accessible.
  • Private rented housing should be suitable for older people in terms of flexible tenancies, accessibility, regular maintenance, location and cost.
  • Older people should be informed about their housing options, and have access to trustworthy advice.

Read the report here

The economics of housing and health

The King’s Fund has published The economics of housing and health: the role of housing associations.

 

This report looks at the economic case for closer working between the housing and health sectors.  It shows how housing associations provide a wide range of services that produce health benefits, which can reduce demand on the NHS and create social value.  A number of case studies are included in the report.

Housing association innovation in delivering affordable credit

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report ‘ Housing association innovation in delivering affordable credit’.

This report looks at what housing associations are doing to help their tenants access affordable credit, and how effective these schemes are. The research draws on a literature review and 13 in-depth case studies of affordable credit schemes.

The report found that:

  • a main benefit reported for tenants who received an affordable loan was the ability to meet essential needs. Other benefits were improved financial inclusion and money saved in lower interest payments (compared to using high-cost credit);
  • the evidence was limited regarding whether the take-up of affordable loans replaced tenants’ use of high-cost credit;.
  • low take-up of schemes by tenants was a commonly reported problem;
  • affordable credit schemes can help some tenants to meet essential needs, but not those who lack the spare disposable income to afford loan repayments; and
  • a strength of the case study schemes was that they were part of wider financial inclusion and anti-poverty strategies.

Read more here