Covid-19 ‘has amplified’ Brighton and Hove’s housing inequalities

Brighton and Hove’s housing inequalities have only been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, according to the results of a survey.

Friday, 31st July 2020, 4:24 pm

Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust is gathering testimonials from city residents on how their housing situation has impacted on their

experience of lockdown.

More tahn 230 people have already completed the survey, and more are coming in every day.

Although responses show a variety of experiences, one fact is laid bare: the housing inequalities that blight Brighton & Hove are only amplified by the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown regulations.

One respondent said: “Living in a tiny two bed flat with no outdoor space during lockdown has been really hard and pretty claustrophobic. We can’t afford to live in a bigger place though.”

Another added: “I live with four children, two which are classed as disabled in an overcrowded small three bed house with not enough room for the kids.”

The survey reveals that a quarter of respondents are living in cramped housing too small for their families and describes in detail how this is negatively affecting their health and wellbeing.

Others talk openly about how having plenty of bedrooms and outdoor space has helped them get through the crisis.

Nearly half of all respondents said that their housing situation made lockdown harder.

Financial insecurity is also a huge source of stress for many, with half of all tenants saying they worried about how they were going pay their rent each month, and many saying that despite working, they couldn’t afford to own their own home in the city.

One said: “The lack of financial security is an overwhelming and terrifying reality.”

Another respondent added: “I worry about my son in rented accommodation, self-employed but unable to work, and with the threat of eviction hanging over him.”

When asked what would make the situation easier respondents were clear about their priorities as 70 per cent wanted housing that is truly affordable, 64 per cent want outside space and half wanted housing built to the highest environmental and energy saving standards.

More than half were also interested in being able to build their own home, and a third said they wanted to live in more supportive and integrated communities.

One respondent said: “I’d love to feel secure in my home. Something affordable with a sense of community and outdoor space.”

What the survey shows, is that without radical changes in how housing is built, sold and rented in the city, thousands of people will continue to live in homes that are too small, unsafe or unaffordable.

BHCLT are collecting the stories as part of a larger campaign to fight for more affordable and sustainable housing in the city, and are also working with a number of housing groups, made up of local people, who would like to build their own affordable homes and communities in Brighton and Hove.

BHCLT would like as many as people as possible to fill out the five-minute survey, which has also had the support of all three of the city’s MPs.

It can be completed anonymously or people can choose to give their contact details if they want to become part of BHCLT’s larger to call for more affordable and sustainable housing in the city.