What is fuel poverty?
If households are paying more than 10% of their income on keeping warm (keeping living areas at a temperature of 18-21 degrees Celsius), they are living in fuel poverty. It is likely to be a growing problem for our residents.
Why are our residents vulnerable to fuel poverty?
The energy efficiency of our homes is higher than in the private sector but…
- The price of energy has doubled in the last ten years and is set to continue to increase.
- A high proportion of people vulnerable to fuel poverty live in social housing. This includes people aged over 65, the disabled, long-term sick, unemployed, people on low incomes and households with very young children. These households tend to spend a large proportion of their time at home (have to heat their properties for longer), may be less active, have lower incomes and have medical conditions which make them more susceptible to the cold.
How big is the problem?
- 20% of households in the UK are fuel poor.
- 71% of unemployed are in fuel poverty – our residents are twice as likely to be unemployed/looking for work compared to the national average.
- 36% of single person households are fuel poor – 60% of our residents are single person households which is twice the national average.
- 41% of single person households aged over 60 are living in fuel poverty – 20% of our homes are occupied by single persons aged over 60.
- In our super survey of over 1,000 of our residents, 21% reported that they found it difficult to heat their home when it is cold outside.
What is Affinity Sutton doing about it?
To cover all elements of fuel poverty, we are committed to taking a three strand approach:
- We are committed to improving the efficiency of our homes – through improving our existing homes and adopting increasing standards in our new builds.
- We are helping residents to use the energy in their homes as efficiently and affordably as possible though our EnergyFit toolkit. This is because fuel poverty can be also be affected by behaviour in the home.
- We are helping our residents to increase their disposable income through better managing their expenditure and maximising their income. This is being delivered through our financial inclusion, Ready2Work and welfare support teams.
To better understand which of our residents might be in fuel poverty we are gathering information so that we can target our resources specifically to those at greatest risk.
In 2012 Affinity Sutton was named Social Housing Provider of the Year for our Innovative Approach to Green Homes by Sustainable Housing magazine. This award recognises our commitment to improving the sustainability of our homes, including FutureFit; Graylingwell Park; Improving our Estates project; and the launch of EnergyFit.
- We recognise the growing issue of fuel poverty, particularly within the social housing sector, and are working to identify which of our residents are most vulnerable to fuel poverty.
- We know that many of our residents struggle to heat their homes during cold weather and we recognise that with fuel prices set to increase that it will become a growing issue.
- We are taking a three-strand approach to tackling fuel poverty among our residents: Improving the energy efficiency of our homes; helping our residents to use the energy in their homes more effectively; and helping to alleviate poverty through our financial inclusion, Ready2Work and welfare support teams.
- In 2012 Affinity Sutton was named Social Housing Provider of the Year for its Innovative Approach to Green Homes.
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