Health benefits of housing regeneration programme assessed
12 May 2011
A study looking at the immediate and longer health benefits of a major housing regeneration programme has been funded by the NIHR PHR programme.
This study aims to measure the immediate and longer term health benefits resulting from a major housing regeneration programme, currently underway, in which social housing is brought up to a national quality standard. The regeneration process is made up of four packages which are mainly being funded by the Welsh Assembly Government:
The internal package includes upgrading kitchens and bathrooms, fitting full gas or oil central heating with condensing boilers, and rewiring sockets
The windows and doors package includes the provision of secure uPVC double glazed windows and doors
The thermal insulation package which includes cavity wall/external wall insulation and loft insulation where possible
The garden and estate package includes the provision of boundary garden fencing, outdoor security lights and making sure paths are in a good condition
This study will focus on whether housing improvements reduce the number of hospital admissions for conditions such as heart attacks, asthma attacks, falls and burns in people over 60 years old. The research team, led by Professor Ronan Lyons of Swansea University, will also examine if there is a decrease in the number of prescriptions made for anxiety and depression, asthma and related conditions for people of all ages living in the improved houses. These results will be compared to similar people who live locally who have not had their houses regenerated.
The research team will liaise with the council to collect property regeneration data, including completion dates, and will then use an ethically approved system to link data anonymously from the regenerated homes to the residents and their health data. The research team will then compare health status before & after the housing improvements, as well as comparing residents in improved housing with residents in other places.
"Improving conditions in social housing to a national standard is the single greatest component of most regeneration programmes. Improvements to public health and reductions in inequalities are anticipated but good evidence is lacking," says Professor Lyons. "Evidence on the benefits provided by regeneration would be of interest to all local authorities, government policy makers, housing associations and charities and could have an impact on NHS resources and costs."
The results of the research are expected in 2016. Please visit the project page for more details.