Policy and Research

Our Health, Our Homes

For nearly four decades, NEA has partnered with local and national government, health bodies, industry and a wide range of local organisations to deliver practical solutions to improve health and wellbeing and address housing as a key social determinant of ill-health.

Despite our collective work, cold, damp, poorly insulated and under heated homes are still costly. For NHS England, this exceeds £1.4bn per year, with broader societal costs, from lost education and employment opportunities, standing at over £18.6bn. Respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and common mental disorders are among the costliest examples of health-related implications of poor housing.

In the extreme, cold homes cost lives. Across the UK, NEA estimates that on average more than 10,000 people die each year due to living in a cold home. In England Wales, excess winter deaths have risen by nearly 20% last winter. The alarming increase in Excess Winter Deaths last year was before the impact of Covid-19 struck. Covid-19 is likely to have left many households more exposed to the risks of living in a cold home than ever before.

Our research and policy team have worked extensively to influence the health agenda. Notable projects and streams of work include:

Health and Homes Working Group

Working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we convene a cross-departmental and cross-sectoral Health and Homes Working Group focused on connecting fuel poverty mitigation with public health. The Working Group includes representatives from Public Health England, the National Health Service, the Department for Health and Social Care, Citizens Advice, the Chartered Institute for Housing, the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, among others. Alongside this work, NEA facilitates an internal health working group to bring together and provide strategic insight for our own health-related professional practice, research, and policy.

Connecting Homes for Health

“The improvement in my health has changed my life”: Our Connecting Homes for Health research explored the use of health-based eligibility criteria in housing improvement schemes. Before help, over 80% of households reported their homes negatively impacting health; following, this reduced to less than 1 in 10.

Health and Innovation Programme

Our expansive £26.2 million Health and Innovation Programme assisted more than 9,000 households with support from the Warm and Healthy Homes fund. Mobilising NICE guidelines associated with cold homes and health, our social evaluation reported significant physical and mental health improvements.

Catalogue of health-related fuel poverty schemes

Commissioned by the UK Government, we developed a catalogue of local health-related fuel poverty schemes, examining those aiming to address the cost burden and stresses of cold home related ill-health. This work led to a series of health-focused seminars.

Get Warm Soon

Our Get Warm Soon research examined the extent to which Health and Wellbeing boards in England were adopting public health indicators linked to cold homes in accordance with NICE guidelines.

Under One Roof

Commissioned by Liverpool City Council and funded by BEIS, our Under One Roof research examined cold home related ill-health, and the evidence and practices of where health bodies have worked in partnership with fuel poverty alleviation schemes.

For more information on our work in this area, please contact Danielle Butler.