One in three people in Wales are impacted by the housing emergency
Shelter Cymru launches the fight for good homes - for all of Wales
One in three people (34%) in Wales have been impacted by the housing emergency, Shelter Cymru can reveal today. Research conducted on behalf of Shelter Cymru shows that over a million children and adults in Wales are living in unsafe or unaffordable housing.
This includes everything from families forced to choose between paying rent or mortgage payments and buying food, to people living in homes riddled with damp, mould and disrepair. The shocking new figures show the scale of the challenge facing the Welsh Government and show why good homes must be front and centre of the Government’s welcome commitment to build back better and fairer in the wake of the pandemic.
The research reveals a variety of alarming ways that the housing emergency is affecting people across all of Wales:
∙ Almost 1 in 10 people (9%)- equivalent to an estimated over a quarter of a million people (283, 000) - have had to cut spending on household essentials like food or heating in order to afford rent or mortgage payments.
∙ 1 in 6 people (16%) – equivalent to an estimated half a million people (504, 000) – say they cannot keep their home warm in winter.
∙ Over 1 in 10 (13%) – equivalent to an almost half a million people (409,000) – are living in homes that are not structurally sound or have hazards such as faulty wiring or fire risks.
∙ Just over 1 in 4 people (26%) – equivalent to an estimated 819,000 people - are living in homes with significant damp, mould or condensation problems.
∙ 1 in 10 people – equivalent to an estimated 315,000 people – say their current housing situation is harming their mental health, or their family’s mental health.
In addition to the above, we know that people on the lowest incomes are the most affected by the housing emergency. Unfortunately, this often includes people in ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people with other protected characteristics.
This is reflected in our research, which found that an estimated 75,000 (3%) of adults said they had experienced discrimination when they tried to find their current home and felt it was because of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or disability.
Now is the time for politicians and parties come together locally and nationally to deliver on their commitments, in light of these findings: building at least 20,000 new, high quality social homes; helping the thousands of people priced out of renting and buying; and ensuring families pushed into homelessness are not trapped in temporary accommodation, and that no-one in Wales is forced to sleep on the streets.
Merlin, from Newport, was evicted by his landlord just days before his partner was due to give birth. He has been supported by Shelter Cymru, and he said:
“When we moved in to our flat during the pandemic we faced at least 54 problems either with maintenance or repairs needing to be done in that time. The noise from the upstairs flat was intolerable at times when we first moved in. The carpet was filthy dirty, but the landlord wouldn’t clean it. There was water leaking in through the ceiling in our front room, the oven was broken, there was a mouse hole in the bathroom, and the list continued.
Two days after responding to a request from the landlord for a full list of the problems we were experiencing at the flat, we were told to leave. This is simply the most blatant case of potential revenge eviction I think it could be possible to find, and we are sickened to our stomach and I feared that the stress on my girlfriend would affect the birth of our unborn child. I just think it’s outrageous that this is legal and revenge evictions like this are allowed to happen.”
Ruth Power, Chief Executive of Shelter Cymru, said:
“At Shelter Cymru, we know that home is everything. This research highlights the challenges that so many people in Wales have faced during the pandemic. But unfortunately these challenges are not new – they are longstanding problems that need bold and ambitious action to solve.
Good homes are the foundation of all of our lives. They let people go to work every day, without worrying about what they’ll come home to. They let children thrive in school. They give us the comfort, safety and security that is vital to healthy, happy and productive lives.
Our research shows the scale and seriousness of the housing emergency in Wales and shows that urgent action is needed. For the families foregoing food to keep roofs over their heads; for the renters threatened with eviction because Covid pushed them into unemployment; for the generation of young people for whom buying or renting their own home is an unachievable daydream - Shelter Cymru will always fight for home, and for everyone without one.”
Join Shelter Cymru and help us to fight for home. Together, we can end the housing emergency in Wales, once and for all.