UK Policy Briefings
Housing, Gender and Covid-19
Date Posted: Monday 23rd November 2020
- At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the government suspended evictions for rental tenants. Local authorities have identified nearly 500,000 people at high risk of being evicted following end of this measure in September.
- Housing is a known public health issue. Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, poor housing cost the NHS upwards of £1.4 billion per year.
- Women’s housing situation differs from that of men, and is generally poorer, in terms of affordability, ownership, feeling safe and overcrowding.
- On average, private renters spend 33% on rent, however due in part to the gender pay gap, there is a distinctly gendered difference; average rents use up 43% of a woman’s median earnings and only 28% of men’s.
- In terms of home ownership, the median home in England costs over 12 times women’s median wages (8 times for men).
- The Help to Buy initiative seems to serve the already relatively privileged; in March 2020 average household income for those using the Help to Buy scheme was £53,322.
- The treatment of housing assets, rental income and imputed rents (the flow of benefits homeowners get from their homes) in the taxation system is generous, and has been an overlooked option for fiscal and housing policy goals.
- Female lone-parent households have consistently been the largest type at risk of homelessness at 28% of all households and make up 17% of all homeless households (compared to 3% and 2% for male lone-parent households respectively).