Eviction and living costs top concerns for renters in Suffolk
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Poor housing, the risk of eviction and ever-growing living costs are among the fears of renters in Suffolk according to leading housing organisations.
A YouGov poll of renters in the region, commissioned by housing charity Shelter, shows that one in six renters in the East of England is struggling with their health as a result of poor housing.
Ipswich-based charity Anglia Care Trust (ACT) has said that its service users are raising concerns about the end of the eviction ban and the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, upon which many became reliant to afford basic living costs.
Some of the most common problems causing physical and mental harm to renters in the region include damp and mould, which affects 22% of all renters, and being unable to heat their home, which is hitting 23% of those paying rent.
In a separate Shelter poll that explored these issues more deeply it was revealed that a third of people said housing problems or worries left them feeling stressed or anxious, with 20% saying the problems had made them physically sick.
Wayne Duff-Godfrey, head of operations at ACT, said: "ACT truly believes that having a safe, settled home is key to helping people feel secure and make positive steps in their lives.
"By offering tenancy-related support alongside our accommodation, we work to empower individuals to maintain their homes while also deploying our own in-house maintenance team to carry out both scheduled improvements and reactive repairs.
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"From a local perspective, with the protection for renters now reduced following the measures introduced during the pandemic, we are seeing particular concerns from potential service users who may now face eviction because of rent arrears or through having raised concerns to their landlords about their living environment.
"On top of this, the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, something many have become reliant upon to meet their basic living costs, is a growing concern among those we support.
"We urge any readers to get in touch if they are experiencing these issues - both our housing and money advice teams are here to help."
Shelter's chief executive, Polly Neate, said: "The cost of poor housing in the East of England is spilling out into overwhelmed GP surgeries, mental health services, and hours lost from work. The housing secretary must get a grip on the housing crisis and tackle a major cause of ill health.
"Listening to the calls flooding into our helpline there is no doubt that health and housing go hand in hand. Yet, too many renters are living in homes that make them sick because they are mouldy, cold, unaffordable and grossly insecure.
"The stress and suffering that comes with not knowing if you can pay your rent from month to month, or if you will face eviction is huge.
"The government can ease the pressure on renters' health now by providing targeted grants to clear rent arrears built up during the pandemic, and by making good on its promise to reform private renting next year.
"But ultimately the housing crisis will never be cured until we build the decent social homes that more people need to live a healthy life."