Homes for Health: The Public Health Case to Warm Our Homes, Not Our Planet

Briefing cover - Homes for Health: The Public Health Case to Warm Our Homes, Not Our Planet - Medact

We all need a warm and safe place to come home to. We know that our collective health is shaped by the social and material conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age – affordable, safe and warm homes help us to grow and thrive, and should be accessible to all.

There is, however, a public health crisis in our homes. People of all ages are experiencing physical and mental health conditions, and sometimes ultimately dying, as a result of living in cold, damp, and mouldy conditions. Living in cold homes and experiencing fuel poverty are wholly preventable. They are the result of choices from successive governments that have deprioritised what we care about most: our health.

The good news is that these are political choices that we can change.

What we are proposing in this briefing are policy reforms that will result in a triple win for our planet, our homes, and our economy. Transforming our energy system and upgrading our homes will reduce carbon emissions, will improve health by better insulating the homes of the most vulnerable from the cold and damp, and in doing all of this will reduce health inequity and inequality within society

This briefing sets out: 

  1. The historical and social reasons behind the crisis of cold and damp homes and fuel poverty in the UK. 
  2. Actions that will help address the crisis, and ultimately secure health justice for all. 

This briefing is intended to provide key background information for health workers and others wanting to campaign and organise on these issues. Use this alongside the messaging guide we produced with NEON, designed to help us communicate these problems clearly.

About Homes for Health

Homes should be a place of comfort, health and security. Instead, across the UK, homes have become sites of illness. They are rendered cold and damp by poor insulation and sky-high energy prices. They are insecure due to unaffordable rents, evictions, and poor-quality housing.

Medact’s Health for a Green New Deal and Economic Justice campaigns have come together in the fight to win healthy homes for all, as part of the wider struggles for climate, housing and economic justice. Our groups and members are getting organised to fight for healthy homes and win! Here we are sharing the tools we need to take action as health workers!