The unfolding impacts of the pandemic on the lives of Clarion’s residents are revealed in a new report that highlights positive developments as well as causes for concern.
This is the third in a series of reports tracking the ways in which people in social housing have fared during the pandemic and the challenges they now face.
It is part of a major long term study conducted by Clarion, with Enventure Research, which began in June 2020 and ends in early 2022.
Here are some of the key findings from the latest report, which draws from a survey of almost 400 residents in May this year.
Some 72% of residents are ‘optimistic’ about their finances over the next six months, up from 64% last winter.
However, many residents are cutting back on spending (39%) and one in five (19%) are having to use credit cards or borrow money to pay for essentials.
The proportion of residents who only have enough money for the essentials increased from 27% in summer 2020 to 32% in summer 2021. And the proportion who run out of money on a regular basis doubled from 8% to 16%.
Health and wellbeing
Overall, more than eight out of ten (86%) residents are ‘coping well’ with the pandemic.
But there has been a steep rise in those who ‘always or often’ feel lonely, from 7% in summer 2020 to 20% in summer 2021.
During this time the proportion of residents reporting worsening physical health rose from 22% to 37%, whilst those with deteriorating mental health increased by 25% to 29%.
In contrast to the mass job losses many had feared, the proportion of residents in work reduced only slightly between summer 2020 (31%) and summer 2021 (29%).
By May this year nearly two thirds (62%) of residents with jobs were back working as ‘normal.’
And 94% of those in work feel secure in their jobs – a significant increase from the 83% who felt this way in summer 2020.
The disability gap
Residents reporting a disability are:
Twice as likely (34%) than non-disabled people (16%) to report worsening mental health
Three times as likely to suffer from loneliness ‘always or often’ (29% vs 10%)
Twice as likely to run out of money before the end of the week or month (22% vs 10%)
Three times as likely to be pessimistic about their financial situation (31% vs 11%)
This research is helping to inform Clarion’s work to help residents affected by the pandemic. A new ‘Lend an Ear’ befriending service has been launched to tackle loneliness by matching residents with volunteers, and a #meinmind service gives residents free access to an online support platform. In addition, Clarion staff took part in the Wellbeing 10 initiative where - during visits to residents’ homes - they spend an extra 10 minutes to see if they can pick up on any signs of loneliness.