Where the heart is: The link between mental ill health and rent arrears
We’re working closely with experts in housing, mental health and policy to find new ways to support those with mental health problems avoid rent arrears and other difficulties.
Southern Housing Group has been working alongside five other housing associations to help the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute conduct research into the link between mental health and rent arrears, to help us understand the issues affecting our customers and how we can help.
Over a million adults in the UK are struggling with both their mental health and housing costs. People who’re behind on housing costs are one and a half times more likely to experience mental health problems, and a squeeze in living standards is leaving many behind on their rent and in need of mental health support.
The research found that mental health problems also make arrears harder to resolve, and that offers of support from housing providers are not getting through. This creates a cycle of rent arrears, fear of eviction, and mental health problems that is hard to break.
Social housing providers already offer support for their residents far beyond what is available in the private rented sector. However, the research found that tenants with mental health problems were struggling to open letters, answer the phone, or otherwise engage with the support available. The report aims to help housing associations reach those most in need of help.
The report was launched on 17 April at an event that brought together experts from housing, mental health and policy, including the Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Housing Federation, Greater London Authority, and mental health charities Mind and Rethink.
Anabel Palmer, the Group’s Community Investment and Care Director, Lily Monk, Customer Operations Director, and John Gleeson, Head of Community Investment North, attended the event to discuss:
Why people with mental health problems are more likely to fall behind on their rent and what the consequences are
How social landlords, as a major provider of housing to people experiencing mental health problems, respond to rent arrears and the challenges they face
Opportunities for intervention by social landlords and government to reduce the likelihood that people experiencing mental health problems will incur rent arrears and to mitigate the effects when they do.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in 2016. It conducts research and develops policies for banks, lenders, regulators, the health service, and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
Simon Crine, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said: “For most of us, our home is central to our wellbeing, our sense of self and our confidence that we can support and protect our families. When that comes under threat because of difficulties meeting the rent, it can have an immediate and profound impact on our mental health.”
For more about this story, please contact:
Mary Weeks Communications Manager Southern Housing Group 0207 553 6841