Fix our broken housing, not just the market!

Our charitable arm Foundations Independent Living Trust is calling on the Government and corporate Britain to dig deeper and fix the country’s broken housing as part of National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day (17 February).

Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) operates grants for local home improvement agencies (HIAs) to provide a range of support including repairs and improvements to the homes of older people and vulnerable people at risk of fuel poverty.

The charity wants to raise an additional £100,000 this financial year to reach an extra 500 people in need.

Sara McKee, Chair of FILT, said:  “We need to fix the country’s broken housing, not just the broken housing market. Millions of people are living in houses that are not-fit-for-purpose and they don’t have the means to pay for repairs or make their homes more energy efficient. 

“This leaves them at risk of illness and people can die. You only have to look at hospital A&E departments and winter mortality rates to see the impact fuel poverty can have on someone’s health.

“We help thousands of people stay safe, well and warm in their own homes, but that’s a drop in the ocean. There are nearly 2.4 million households living in fuel poverty (1) and we have an army of handypersons who want to help them, but we need the support of Government and corporate Britain in order to do more.

“Poor housing costs the NHS an estimated £1.4 billion per annum (2). It makes sense to invest in prevention rather than cure at a time when the NHS is stretched to breaking point.”

FILT grants enable life-changing interventions to make homes more energy efficient and/or easier to keep warm. Measures range from draught proofing and fitting reflector radiator panels to replacement of boilers and central heating systems. Grant beneficiaries include people over 60, who were living on a low income, with a disability or long-term illness.

In 2015/16 the charity’s Warm at Home programme distributed £637,000 grants to 3,600 people across the country, helping them stay safe warm and well in their home and saving the NHS an estimated £2.4 million.

 “Our support keeps people happy at home and a small amount of money can make a big difference,” concludes Sara. ”Just £45 can enable a handyperson time to fix draughty windows and doors, £95 can provide gas safety checks to appliances, £500 can repair a broken/unsafe boiler.”

To support the Foundations Independent Living Trust or to learn more about the programmes it funds, visit www.filt.org.uk.