Half of surveyed renters suffered mental health decline during COVID-19

social housing apartments

Australian renters have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 facing income loss, the inability to pay rent, tenure insecurity and eviction risk and a new AHURI publication provides a stark analysis of the impacts of these unprecedented challenges.

Twenty leading thinkers from housing, economics, policy, urban planning, and epidemiology have explored the results from a survey of 15,000 renting households for the publication Rental Insights: A COVID-19 Collection released today.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a stark reminder of how we are housed-where we are located, the quality, security and amenity of our housing-impacts on our health, wellbeing and economic productivity.” Professor Emma Baker

Interestingly, while each of the contributions to this Collection differ, a series of ‘echoes’ exist between the stories, which should almost certainly demand the community’s attention:

  • the mental health effects of lockdown appear to be substantial and widespread, with almost half of all renters reporting a decline in their mental health during COVID-19
  • children, especially those living with a sole parent, are a group of particular concern as households with children are more likely to live in poorer quality housing
  • the economic effects on households are yet to be fully realised because they are currently hidden by temporary solutions such as savings and superannuation, or interventions like JobKeeper, rent deferment, and eviction moratoriums.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a stark reminder of how we are housed-where we are located, the quality, security and amenity of our housing-impacts on our health, wellbeing and economic productivity,’ says Professor Emma Baker from the University of Adelaide, lead author of the publication.

‘When the pandemic emerged, and the economic lockdown hit, researchers across Australia rapidly collaborated to understand the impacts on Australia’s housing market,’ says Dr Michael Fotheringham, Managing Director of AHURI. This collection of insights from some of the country’s leading experts will be significant in informing rapid policy development and supporting national recovery.’

The Rental Insights Collection draws on data from The Australian Rental Housing Conditions Dataset funded by the Australian Research Council in partnership with six Australian universities as well an additional AHURI funded COVID-19 module.

The Collection can be downloaded from the AHURI website at: https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/research-papers/rental-insights-a-covid-19-collection

A free webinar featuring several contributors to the Collection will be held on Wed 9 Dec, 11.30am – 1pm, register at:

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/stretton/events/list/2020/12/lessons-for-a-post-pandemic-housing-system

/University Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.