A Perfect Storm for Older People’s Housing
Lockdowns, fear of COVID-19 and now a cost-of-living crisis has resulted in significantly increased amounts of disrepair as older homeowners continue to put off works. As problems intensify, urgent and essential repairs become more significant, complexity and cost of works grows and the health impacts of poor, damp housing on occupiers are exacerbated.
Cost pressures within the construction industry has also made repairs more expensive. The prices of materials and labour have skyrocketed, there is a significant shortage of skilled contractors being trained and entering the workforce, and as a result there are procurement challenges in terms of timescales and finding sufficient funding to get essential works done. This all means that the number of older people organisations like Care & Repair an help, has reduced as complexity of need increases and average costs of works escalate.
A Safety Net is Needed
Care & Repair Cymru believes that the introduction of a safety net housing disrepair grant, for lowest-income older homeowners, would solve many of the issues, make older people’s homes safe and habitable and move thousands of vulnerable older adults out of harm’s way. This would in turn lead to better health and well-being, reduce hospital admissions and visits to the GP and help reduce pressures on the NHS.
Becky Ricketts, Care & Repair Cymru Policy Officer and author of report:
“We do not believe that older people should live in a hazardous home or live without dignity due to being on low income. That’s why a national safety net grant programme is needed. It would give vulnerable older homeowners access to urgent and essential repairs.”
“Last year, we supported over 56,000 older people across Wales through our interventions. This means that 56,000 older people in Wales are living in safer, warmer, more accessible homes and with more money in their pocket, thanks to our work.”