Skip to content
Research and insights17 October 2023

New survey highlights continuing impact of cost of living crisis on social housing residents

Initial findings from a survey commissioned by Clarion Housing Group have shown that the cost of living crisis continues to cause issues for people living in social housing.

Called The Index, the representative survey of 2,000 Clarion residents conducted by Enventure Research* found that: 

  • More than half (56%) of households say they are worse off financially compared with 12 months ago; 
  • One in five Clarion residents (21%) run out of money before the end of the week or month;
  • Two fifths (41%) have had to borrow money or use credit to pay for essentials compared to 35% in 2022.

The research also found that an increasing proportion of residents are having to make difficult decisions in order to manage their day-to-day finances, with 77% cutting back on household spending compared to 63% in 2022, and 74% reducing heating and electricity usage.

However, despite these interventions, a fifth (20%) of residents have gone without food in the last year as they couldn’t afford it – a figure which rises to almost a third (29%) of residents aged 18-34 representing a 5% increase from last year (24%).

14% of residents report using a food bank in the last year, rising to 25% of households with three or more children. Residents receiving Universal Credit are also more likely to be experiencing food poverty, with 31% reporting going without food and 26% using a food bank.

Unsurprisingly, the research also showed that the cost of living crisis is affecting more than just household finances, with half of respondents (51%) saying that it has had a negative impact on their mental health.

“Social landlords like Clarion provide a home to some of the most vulnerable people in our society and even though our residents benefit from paying heavily subsidised rents, many are still in a precarious financial position as we can see from the findings of our annual survey. With the cost of living crisis showing no sign of abating, we’re continuing to provide funding to partners in Clarion communities nationwide in support of warm spaces and food pantries through our charitable foundation, Clarion Futures. And our dedicated Clarion Futures teams continue to make a huge difference to our residents, providing practical advice and support to help them through these turbulent times.”

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group

First undertaken in 2017, the Clarion Index is an annual behavioural insights report, giving a broad look at residents’ lives, views and experiences to help better understand and meet their needs.

Initial findings focused on key areas of interest have been released, with the full report to follow later this year.

* Market Research Society registered agency Enventure Research was commissioned to undertake this year’s resident survey with randomised customer contact details provided by Clarion. A similar methodology was used to the surveys of previous years and telephone interviews were carried out with a representative sample of 2,000 residents. Quotas were used for age, gender and region. All calls completed between 1 June and 12 July 2023.