Study by Shelter finds 43% of people live in unsuitable housing

Recently we learned that 43% of people in the UK live in unsuitable housing. The figures, released by homelessness charity Shelter, showed that more than four in ten people live in homes that do not reach acceptable standards in cleanliness, safety and space. In practice, this means multiple people living in one room, unaffordable rents or mortgage repayments and unhygienic conditions.

In their coverage of this news, the BBC spoke to pensioners Ian and Esmee Woolcomb. Ian and Esmee are aged 62 and 72, and they currently live in a damp-ridden one-bedroom flat with no living room and are desperate to move. Their home fails three of Shelter’s five living standards: affordability, decent conditions, space, stability and neighbourhood.

It’s saddening to think that someone in their retirement should be living in such conditions. Unfortunately, our own research only serves to support Shelter’s findings. When we surveyed over 1,000 over sixties earlier this year, 29% of people admitted to cutting back on their spending to make ends meet. 12% couldn’t afford to heat their homes and 10% were eating less just to get by.

Surely this shouldn’t be the case? Surely there should be more options for people needing homes, not just in retirement but at any age? Surely there should be better, more flexible options that put an end to the often unaffordable buy or rent situation we’re finding ourselves in? Surely, in 2016, we can’t stand for this much longer?