Research – No Place like Home

Published January 2021

For many on low incomes, especially care leavers, those fleeing domestic violence, or those who have escaped homelessness, getting hold of furniture and appliances is a mountain to climb.

Given the economic shocks of the past two years, which will likely hit social housing tenants the hardest, and the fact that the cost of furniture has increased by over 40% in the past 10 years, it has never been more important to provide tenants with a place to call home.

The report sets out the positive impact that increased furniture provision can have on tenants’ lives; what furniture support is currently available for tenants living in furniture poverty; and what barriers are in place which are preventing increased furniture provision in the sector, and how those barriers can be overcome.

Key Findings

• The social housing sector houses some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society, a situation compounded by austerity and the pandemic.

•Furniture provision can have a positive impact on tenants’ lives. We found that living without furniture and appliances has a negative impact on tenants’ mental, social, and financial wellbeing.

• Tenants and social landlords currently rely on a highly uneven patchwork of options for acquiring furniture, which includes local welfare assistance, high cost credit, and friends and family.

• There are a number of barriers to the creation of more furnished tenancies, which included a lack of awareness and understanding of relevant policy, a perceived ‘poverty trap’, financial pressures facing the sector, and the need to convince their respective management structures that providing furniture is financially viable.

• These barriers, however, have been overcome by furnished tenancy providing social landlords.

• Furniture provision is likely to increase tenancy sustainability as it remediates the harmful effects of living without the essential items of furniture and appliances.

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