Housing problems have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, with cold, damp and noise being the most bothersome problems for residents.
A new study by construction company Kingfisher plc, owners of B&Q, found that around 9.5 million people in the UK live with significant housing problems, ranging from inadequate heating or insulation to pests and overcrowding.
The problems have been exacerbated by lockdown, which leaves many people feeling “trapped” in unsuitable homes and “powerless” to do anything about it, the study said.
Findings are part of a report by Kingfisher titled ‘ ‘If Walls Could Talk’, which offers steps to make home improvement accessible to everyone.
Thierry Garnier, CEO of Kingfisher plc, said: “Our homes have never been more central to our lives than during the course of this year.
Because people are living with lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are spending much more time at home than usual.
“Millions of people live in houses that are too humid, too cold, or too small. We also looked at the broader implications these problems can have on their physical and mental health.
“It is abundantly clear that these problems have worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Kingfisher has partnered with Shelter, a housing charity, to lead a fundraising campaign with a donation of £ 100,000, which aims to answer up to 10,000 calls to its UK emergency lines.
Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, the housing charity, said: “This pandemic has brutally exposed the depths of our housing emergency.
“Right now, our frontline services are grappling with tremendous demand due to housing issues exacerbated by the devastating impact of Covid-19.
“It’s hard enough to cope with everyday life with issues like damp, cold and even rats, let alone a global health crisis when your home is your only refuge.
“We know all too well the harmful effects of not having a safe home on people’s mental and physical health, especially children. So we’re incredibly grateful for Kingfisher’s continued support, who will help us be there for the people who need us this winter – and in the months to come. “