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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Housing overview

The houses we live in and the places we live have an important influence on our health and wellbeing. Ensuring that everyone has a safe, warm, dry and affordable home is also fundamental to reducing health inequalities.

We work with key local and national stakeholders to coordinate action to maximise the contribution of housing to health improvement and reducing health inequalities.

On this page you will find our housing and health inequalities briefing and a link to ‘Foundations for wellbeing’, the Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN) report on how housing and health professionals can work together to improve health and reduce inequalities.

Housing and health inequalities

Housing has an important influence on health inequalities in Scotland. This is through the effects of

  • housing costs
  • housing quality
  • fuel poverty
  • the role of housing in community life.

Many people do not live in a home that is warm, dry and affordable. This is particularly evident for those worst off in society.

There is more work to do to ensure that there are a sufficient number of quality, affordable homes to meet the needs of people in Scotland.

Our 'Housing and health inequalities' briefing paper looks at the relationship between housing and health inequalities. It also makes recommendations for action.

National actions

ScotPHN, along with a wide range of both housing and health stakeholders, produced a report making a series of practical recommendations regarding housing and health inequalities.

You can read the ‘Foundations for well-being: reconnecting public health and housing. A practical guide to improving health and reducing inequalities' on the ScotPHN website.

Partnership working

‘The Foundations for well-being’ report outlines a number of recommendations which focus on reconnecting professionals working across health and housing. 

One of the report’s recommendations was for national and local organisations from both sectors to reflect on how they might support the development of healthy housing policy in Scotland.

National stakeholders we are working with include

Partnership with these organisations involved us in pieces of work such as the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing (external website) and the health strand of the ‘CIH Housing Festival of 2018’. This annual festival event is organised by CIH and is one of the largest events for the housing sector. The 'Housing and health - the next big thing' blog post (external site) (on the Local Government Information Unit Scotland site) highlights some of the key health-focussed messages that came from the event.

50,000 affordable homes

Scottish Government have set a target of building 50,000 affordable houses by 2021. Following a recommendation in the above report, ScotPHN conducted a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of this programme to assess the impact building these houses is likely to have on health inequalities. You can read the 50,000 affordable homes HIA report (external site) on the ScotPHN site.

You can contact us about our work on housing.

Healthy housing for Scotland evidence paper

In March 2021 the Scottish Government published ‘Housing to 2040’. Scotland’s first ever long-term national housing strategy sets out a route map. It shows how everyone will have a safe, high-quality home that is affordable and meets their needs by 2040.

Public Health Scotland have published this briefing paper. It draws on current evidence to detail the ways housing can impact on health and wellbeing.

The paper intends to support the implementation of ‘Housing to 2040

It focuses on evidence relating to the priority themes of the Housing to 2040 vision. These include

  • housing affordability
  • accessibility
  • quality or conditions
  • low carbon, energy efficiency and climate resilience
  • marginalised communities
  • homelessness and health
  • mental health
  • place and communities.

The final section of this paper presents an overview of local housing policies.

It also illustrates opportunities for health and housing colleagues to collaborate.