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Stay at home – how do we entrench the wins on housing?

PlaceShapers Director Rachael Orr was pleased to contribute to a collection of essays collated by Oxfam UK titled ‘Our Other National Debt: Repaying the people we owe the most after coronavirus’.  Each author has identified and explored at least one long-standing structural inequality which has been further exposed risks being deepened by the crisis.

Rachael’s contribution focused on how inequalities in the housing market is keenly felt by those who do not have the luxury of space.  In neighbourhoods there will be key workers, to whom we are justifiably grateful who are returning after long, gruelling shifts to a home that is too small, damp and even dangerous. 

Rachael says: ‘We do not have the available properties to move all these families into when lockdown ends, yet surely we all feel more powerfully than ever that we owe them a decent, safe home to call their own.’

It was observed that optimism is essential to drive a strategy to achieve change and that we must call for ‘Homes fit for heroes’ of the coronavirus crisis and those who have been most impacted by it. Homes which are affordable, built to the highest environmental standards, with outside space.  

Rachael continued: ‘To often new homes are found to be of poor quality, and some of the smallest in Europe.  We have to be creating homes and  places we would all be proud to live in. We have to show too that building new homes isn’t just about our own front doors, it’s about creating and investing in communities.‘

To read Rachael’s essay which also explores other themes and highlights that working together with communities during these tough times may ensure our post-coronavirus country is one that provides decent, safe homes for everyone go to

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