Network launched to support local authorities in improving poor-quality homes
We're launching a new network of local authorities looking to work collaboratively to address the nation’s inadequate housing stock.
Partnering with sector leader Foundations, the Good Home Network will bring together local authorities from all over England to share learning, encourage peer support and motivate innovation in home improvements services locally.
A recent survey carried out by Ageing Better highlights the urgent need for the Good Home Network, with more than four out five (83%) responding local authorities stating there is a need to address poor-quality homes in their area.
The network builds on the work of the Good Home Inquiry to find new ways for local authorities to improve homes in their area. Commissioned last year by the Centre for Ageing Better, the Good Home Inquiry provided an evidence-based analysis of the nation’s housing policies, led by an independent panel and chaired by David Orr CBE.
The inquiry identified the need for each local area to provide easy access to information and advice, finance, home repairs, and adaptions essential for improving the nation’s housing stock.
The Centre for Ageing Better is specifically concerned about the poor quality of housing that many older people live in. Half of the 4 million non-decent homes in England are headed by someone aged 60 or over, while people aged 75 and over are most likely to be living in homes that are too cold and/or lack modern facilities. However, while older people are disproportionally affected by poor-quality homes, the network will work to improve housing for all ages.
The need for better quality housing suitable for residents throughout their lives will become an even greater issue as the proportion of older people within the general population grows. There are currently 11 million people aged 65 and above in England but this number will grow by 2 million in just ten years.
The Good Home Network will enable local authorities to reflect on the existing situation within their community and share ‘what works’ in addressing poor-quality housing. Health and social care bodies will also be engaged to ensure a holistic ‘whole home’ approach is adopted.
Each network meeting will have a tailored agenda, with each session focusing on a particular subject or theme in addressing poor-quality homes locally. Themes will vary depending on the aspirations of members; potential themes will cover the journey from ‘understanding need’ and funding opportunities, to evaluation of existing services. Experts from the housing sector will be invited to subsequent meetings to discuss examples of good practice.
Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“Millions of people in England currently live in a home that presents a serious threat to their health and safety. Our country’s homes are among some of the oldest in Europe and 80% of the homes we will live in by 2050 have already been built. There is an urgent need to retrofit the nation’s existing housing stock to make homes energy efficient and safe. The cost-of-living crisis makes the situation even more urgent.
“Addressing England’s poor-quality housing benefits individuals, the environment, and the economy. We hope the Good Home Network can support local authorities by drawing on the collective knowledge, collaborative learning, and first-hand experiences of those already tackling this issue.
“We are delighted to be working with Foundations on this project. They bring over 20 years of working in home improvement and a specialist understanding of housing policy gained from their close relationship with the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities and local authorities across England. Their specialist insight will be invaluable in tackling one of the country’s most pressing issues.”
Paul Smith, Director at Foundations, said:
“The good work of the Good Home Inquiry set out the condition of the housing stock across England and the need for a coordinated local response to address issues of disrepair and poor energy efficiency. The Good Home Network will look to build upon the good work of similar organisations, and develop solutions that will keep more people warm, safe and secure in their own homes.”
The Centre for Ageing Better and Foundations are currently onboarding members and will be hosting the first network meeting in the coming months.
Local authorities interested in being involved in the network can share their details using this link. The Centre for Ageing Better will also be offering other ways to keep up to date with the learning and outputs for local authorities.