Home is where the heart is, so the old saying goes. Beyond bricks and mortar the safety and stability of a home is key to our happiness. According to Shelter, in the UK 85% of people living in social housing are happy in their homes. These numbers are in line with those who own their homes and far higher than those privately renting. Here we’re celebrating social housing and the link it has to happiness for people in the UK.
‘Happiness’ does not mean feeling on top of the world all the time, but more a long-term contentedness that is related to physical and mental wellbeing. Research continuously proves the link between housing and wellbeing. According to The Health Foundation there are four elements that signify a healthy home:
- A place to feel safe and comfortable
- A secure and stable base that is affordable
- Being connected to a community, employment and services
- Ability to provide for each resident’s needs
A mixture of environmental and physical issues influence the level of wellbeing we experience at home. When asked, social housing residents in the UK noted that the factors that made them least happy in their home were:
- Neighbour noise
- Poor lighting
- No garden
- Local vandalism
77% of those living in social housing say they feel fortunate to have access to it. Social housing tenant and a Commissioner for Shelter’s report on social housing said:
“I’ve always thought of myself as incredibly lucky to be a social housing tenant… On the two occasions I’ve come to rely on social housing, it has been there to make sure my family has had somewhere to live.”
The stability given to those living in social housing through secure, long-term tenancies and affordable rents in comparison to the short-term turnover, lack of security and expense of private rentals helps build communities throughout the UK and offers support to vulnerable friends and neighbours. One social renter in Middlesbrough said:
“Moving into social housing has changed my life beyond all recognition, we’ve got security, we’re comfortable financially, we’ve got a 24-hour helpline, caring community, great neighbours, a property that meets all of our needs and we’ve still got our own independence… I love it!”
Housing providers cannot deliver all the elements it takes to make a happy home – that’s up to us as tenants to build. However, evidence has suggested that those living in social housing are some of the happiest people in the UK. Social housing can be a springboard to better futures with comparably affordable rents, secure tenancies, policies to protect against anti-social behaviour and reactive repairs teams.
We would love to hear your experiences of living in social housing and how it has helped you and your family. Get in touch with us via our Facebook page and let us know your ‘housing and happiness’ stories!
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