Housing associations urged to help tackle ‘endemic’ appliance poverty

Housing associations are being urged to play their part in a push to end the “endemic” problem of people living without white goods and furniture.

A new 35-page report from charity Turn2us has revealed that more than two million households of all tenures, around 4.8 million people, are living without appliances, such as fridges, freezers, cookers and washing machines.

This means people face “huge economic, physical and emotional penalties”, according to Thomas Lawson, chief executive of the charity.

As part of its #LivingWithout campaign, Turn2us has called on social landlords to review what they currently provide to tenants.

Of the 27 housing associations surveyed for the report, 89% said they deal with residents who struggle to furnish their properties with essential household appliances.

Other recommendations for registered providers include:

  • Committing to review policies and practices around void properties to “explore the feasibility of retaining items, including appliances that are of good quality for future tenants”
  • Creating in-house grant funds for tenants to deal with appliance and furniture poverty
  • Introduce rental schemes for appliances and furniture
  • Boost the provision of fully or part-furnished properties
  • Build partnerships and stronger links with charities to help tackle the problem

Last week, writing in Inside Housing, Kate Still, chief operating officer at Citizen, revealed that the housing association has moved towards providing more furnished properties under its ‘Fresh Start Standard’. This came after research by the association showed that unfurnished properties were resulting in tenants getting high-interest loans or finance deals to pay for furniture.


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