“Without a home, you’re a snail without a shell”: housing and mental health

“Without a home, you’re a snail without a shell”

These are the words of Lou, a 44-year-old mother of two who has had to move six times in four years.

This week is both mental health awareness week and the first week of our new government. When I hear David Cameron saying that he will build a ‘brighter, more secure future’ for our country, I think of Lou.

For a secure future, Britain needs secure homes.

When I met Lou last month, she told me about how the constant instability of high rents and short-term lets was taking its toll on her wellbeing. She’s not the only one. Our housing crisis is characterised by instability: short term rental contracts, a disappearing housing safety net and many people never knowing whether they’ll be able to comfortably afford a place to call home in their lifetime. No wonder housing affects our mental health.

When I say we need secure homes, I mean we need to build more genuinely affordable homes; provide safe and long-term tenancies for those of us renting, and ensure that there’s a housing safety net that helps people back on their feet if things go wrong for them.

Because things do go wrong.

Relationships break down, people lose their jobs and sudden or chronic illness stops people from working. Homelessness can start anywhere, to any of us. Life is unstable, but having a secure place to call home makes all the difference in managing any challenges that come our way.

Over the past five months, thousands of us have successfully lobbied all the political parties to fix the housing crisis. Shelter is a powerful community of people, and we know that politicians do listen to our calls for change.

Over the next five years, we’ll continue to keep the pressure on the new government to:

  • Build the affordable homes we so desperately need
  • Make renting more secure
  • Protect the housing safety net

Home is so much more than just four walls and a roof. It’s the most basic part of human wellbeing: somewhere safe to rest, to raise a family, to put down roots. It’s a foundation that we build the rest of our lives on and it is closely linked with our mental health.

Shelter and our supporters have made fixing the housing crisis a key public issue. In the heat of the election, all major parties pledged to build hundreds of thousands of homes. Shelter will continue to campaign on this issue until the government delivers the affordable homes Britain needs.

Join us to push politicians to fix the housing crisis

We’ll be in touch with how you can help us make sure the future of housing really is secure, and that the housing crisis becomes a thing of the past.

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6 Comments
  1. Whilst I strongly agree with the issues raised here, please, please add a codicil that asks that any new housing not be built on flood plains. This is another urgent issue, as it is one of the reasons we are experiencing severe flooding. Cheers and good luck

  2. My front door was damaged by criminal(s) unknown, 16/08/14. Just one of many attacks against me since I moved in here, 18/08/’98. As a result I was locked out, on a Saturday evening, @ ca. 18:30. Oldbury Fire Service unlocked the door for me, their way. Four hours later, @ 22:30, two gents arrived representing the “out-of-hrs-service” of my landlord, Sandwell MBC, with a new lock barrel, but devoid of the necessary screwdriver. I lent ’em the screwdriver, and 10 mins. later they went on their way, having completed the temporary repair. Sandwell MBC Housing then filed the incident under No Further Action (NFA). Many emails were exchanged, and a fictive(?) contractor, known as “Trade”, was handed the repair/replacement contract. By November, there was still yet no sign of any progress on the matter. A visit to the housing office saw the fictive(?) contractor sacked on the spot, and instantly replaced, per telephone, by Nationwide Windows, Rugby. End of November I commenced a Civil Injunction against Sandwell MBC, but Dudley County Court dragged their feet into December, when I was finally issued with a case ID. In January 2015 I finally cancelled the direct debit for the rent, resulting in eviction threats. Still yet no hope of any repair/replacement. A date for the repair was fixed, but they did not appear, a Lady from Nationwide Windows, Rugby, did ‘phone to explain that the necessary glass above the door was missing, and that they could not use the existing, undamaged glass, and that she would contact me as soon as. She, as also Sandwell MBC, all impressed upon me at every possible opportunity, that the repair was “urgent”, lol. More emails were exchanged. More eviction threats. The repair was finally effected in late April, by which time Sandwell MBC had already applied to Dudley County Court for “Immediate Possession” which came to me, from Northampton Court, dated 24/04/2015. It took a whole week to reach me, half of the 14 day notice to respond was gone. I have now reinstated the direct debit for the ongoing rent, but still yet have to discuss the 3 months arrears in Dudley Cunty Court, 26/05/2015, still yet with the “Immediate Possession” threat in force. And all because it finally took Sandwell MBC (landlord) a full 8 months to effect a suitable “urgent” repair/replacement of door, and frame. I repeat that I am the innocent victim of criminal(s) unknown, at least I have no substantial proof of the culprit ID. Will Sandwell MBC also hold me liable for the criminal damage, at a cost of almost £1,000, please? They are currently claiming £1,220 just for £520 rent arrears. They are also doing my head in, with all the paperwork necessary for Legal Aid, as also the court. It is still yet posssible that I will not obtain Legal Aid. Normally one has to be a convicted criminal in order to obtain Legal Aid. Rant now over, until next time, lol.

  3. please consider the fact there are many empty properties and we can only sustain and build so many what about the hundreds of empty places all over the country?

  4. Hi, I know we need loads and loads of housing, but we also need to look at where we build. In my area, the only available free access green space which can be a football pitch or anything else the local kids want to use it as has just been developed, It has resulted in around 50 new houses which is fantastic, but no footy space. The letter of planning law has been met by leaving some green space but not somewhere that kids can run,kick a ball, and have unrestrained fun!
    Nearly every green space around us,apart from the land protected for the sand lizards, is getting developed. Its time that building encroached on the thousands of acres owned by the top ten percent in this country.We need a joined up policy that recognizes the needs of the many. Really not holding my breath though.

  5. We don’t need to build more house’s, we need to kick out the immigrants who have come over here to use our housing. with them gone, we will have plenty of housing to go around to cater for us English! Simple!!!!! I am not racist, I am being logical.

  6. I strongly agree. A home and a place to stay is an indication of the economic establishment of an individual. and this should serve as a major factor in meeting the primary needs of each individual. keep in mind that housing is a primary need that is primarily coupled with two other primary needs. and to fulfill needs a very detailed action and conditioned properly. It was the cause that the housing business remains one of the main business is very good to live by the investors and owners of capital. Information for the public administarsi management services in UK: https://uk.orangefield.com/post-incorporation-services/process-agent-uk-services/ … nice article. thanks for the share.

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