3 things to limit the impact of coronavirus inequality

3 things to limit the impact of coronavirus inequality

Posted 28th April 2020

This blog was originally written and posted by SVUK Chair Richard Kennedy on LinkedIn here.

There has been a lot of talk about coronavirus being the “great leveler” or “great equalizer” but this has been eloquently debunked by BBC news anchor Emily Maitlis recently. While it is clear from Emily’s monologue that the lower paid members of society (bus drivers, shelf stackers, nurses, shop keepers etc) are more likely to catch the virus, worrying research also emerged today that the longer term impact of the virus is also likely to have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable people and those with lower incomes.


The report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies states that groups which are vulnerable to poor health are likely to be hit hardest by the economic repercussions of the crisis which are likely to impact young workers, low-income families and women the most.  It also states that the 2008 financial crisis had a strong negative impact on chronic health for multiple health conditions but the worst effect was on mental health.


In the recession or depression which is inevitably going to follow (France is already there) poverty rates will undoubtedly increase and this will most harm those with pre-existing poor mental health and other underlying health conditions.  Unfortunately, this is likely to add increasing strain on the social housing sector and will regrettably create many more homelessness in our society. 

While Rishi Sunak’s overdue support package for charities is welcome it falls well short of the needs of a sector which is working tirelessly to support the vulnerable during this crisis. 

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In order to be ready I believe we need to do the following three things:

  1. Anticipate where the greatest areas of social need will be
  2. Focus on the beneficiaries and most vulnerable with holistic people centric solutions
  3. Work collaboratively and cross sector to utilise our unique assets and resources.

We hear every day about the laudable preparations being made by the NHS to increase capacity but now is the time for the social sector and particularly the homelessness sector to get ready for the tsunami which is coming once the lockdown is over.