Community-led housing and health: A comprehensive literature review

Project details

Full project title: Community-led housing and health: A comprehensive literature review

Duration: 25 March 2019 - 25 September 2019

Funder: Power to Change

Project Leader for SPE: Dr Katie McClymont

Other UWE Bristol researchers: 

Research partners/collaborator:  Ecomotive

Project summary

Housing is recognised as a key factor within the social determinants of health (SDOH). So much so that the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recently published a set of guidelines on how to promote improved housing. The WHO report acknowledges that ‘poor housing conditions are one of the mechanisms through which social and environmental inequality translates into health inequality, which further affects quality of life and well-being’ (2018, p. XV).

With growing evidence to support this statement put forward by WHO, discussions around health and housing provisions are beginning to inform policy and legislation. Whilst sharing similar discourses, the relationship between community-led housing (CLH) and health has predominantly been hosted in isolation to pertinent conversations on housing and health more generally. Yet, there has been some key research undertaken that demonstrates how community-led models of housing can bring about notable benefits to health and wellbeing (Hopwood and Mann, 2018; Markle et al, 2015; Netto et al, 2015). This project draws these bodies of literature together to present a systematic review of the links between CLH and health.

Key output

Emma Griffin, Katie McClymont,  Laurence Carmichael and Rachel Marsh (2019). Power to Change Research Institute Report No. 23. Community-led housing and health: A comprehensive literature review.

Key findings

The findings from this review show how a range of different CLH models support improved health and wellbeing. 

  • Healthy ageing: evidence suggests that CLH can support healthy ageing. Literature documented how cohousing communities in particular may reduce the health and social care costs associated with ageing. 
  • Social inclusion: we found clear links between CLH and social inclusion, such as increased social capital and social cohesion.
  • Improved physical health: a small but notable collection of literature referenced physical health benefits from CLH including physical activity and healthier eating behaviours.
  • Tackling multiple disadvantages: evidence that CLH can assist people who experience multiple disadvantages or barriers. It may support people who have experienced homelessness or mental health difficulties, as well as refugee and asylum seekers, to find secure and supportive housing options. 
  • Meeting additional support needs: CLH can create positive environments for people with additional support needs such as therapeutic community supporting people with learning disabilities and a residential mental health community.

For further information on the project, please contact Dr Katie McClymont.

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