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Social Housing - Awaab Ishak

9 November 2022

We are saddened to hear about the tragic and unnecessary death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in Rochdale due to breathing problems after being exposed to damp and mould in what should have been his safe space - the family home. 

Our thoughts are with Awaab's family during this difficult - and what has undoubtedly been a traumatic - experience. We hope his family receive justice and are offered Psychological support, as we are aware that people from non-White British backgrounds are less likely to seek or be offered Psychological support. 

The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) has previously raised awareness of the link between social housing which is not fit for purpose and its subsequent negative impact on mental health, including holding a fringe conference event 'Promoting social housing for community wellbeing' in 2019 at our Annual Conference in Bath. 

Unfortunately, the deregulation of social housing has made it difficult for authorities to hold organisations to account. We believe with greater accountability, deaths like Awaab's can and should be avoided. We encourage authorities to come together to put safeguards and measures of accountability in place to protect people living in social housing as they hold less power and resources than their landlords. These measures should also take racism into consideration and any language or cultural barriers. The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies would be happy to contribute to these discussions. 

Further information

Manchester Evening News - Three days into his inquest... housing bosses admit they SHOULD have done more to tackle mould at tragic two-year-old's home, 8 Nov 2022

Manchester Evening News - Boy couldn't breathe through his nose during final days in 'disgusting' damp and mould-hit home, inquest hears, 4 Nov 2022

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - What's causing structural racism in housing?, 14 Sep 2021

CBT Today - Housing insecurity and mental health, Dec 2018 [PDF]

The Guardian - UN report on the UK housing crisis is a wake-up call for us all, 7 Feb 2014

Dispossession: The great social housing swindle

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