About the project
This interdisciplinary project will investigate relationships between health, law and home in the context of poor and precarious housing; and complex/advanced illness. It aims to make recommendations to improve housing conditions and the effectiveness of housing regulation. The project will appeal to those interested in social justice and user experience.
Poor, inadequate, and precarious housing is an important driver of health inequity. Exposure to poor housing conditions including damp, cold, mould and noise, is strongly associated with poor physical and mental health, reduced feelings of control over one’s life, and increased use of health services.
Poor housing conditions are extensively regulated but inadequately enforced. The private rental sector has the highest rates of poor housing, and precarity is rapidly increasing: evictions have risen rapidly, and renters report they couldn’t afford the costs of moving if evicted. Marginal populations are spending longer periods in poor and insecure housing, with adverse consequences for their health and healthcare access, particularly where there is complex illness.
Coroners’ reports and statutory enforcement decisions are underutilised resources in understanding the relationship between precarious housing and premature death. They also have underexploited potential to provide explore the complexity and contingency of the relationship between health outcomes and home.
This project is timely as the endemic relationship between poor and precarious housing, and health has become urgent due to the cost-of-living and fuel crisis. The approach is user-focused and values-based, emphasising the perspective of people with complex/advanced disease.
Lived and/or professional experience of poor housing conditions will be as significant a factor in recruitment as academic attainment; there is scope to develop the project to reflect the interests and community links of the candidate, focusing on a variety of legal and health research methods such as coroner report reviews, visual ethnography or secondary analysis of datasets.