Although Ghent Knapt Op has come to an end, many participants continue to take on house renovations. Ghent Knapt Op has made a significant positive impact on the lives of vulnerable citizens in Ghent by providing financial, emotional and technical support to participants. The renovations have significantly improved the participants self-esteem and sense of belonging in their neighbourhoods.
Ghent Knapt Op has been a successful and innovative project. It has improved people’s lives by focusing on social support and community building by connecting them with local groups and businesses. This is evident by the motivation shown by participants after the end of their renovation process.
According to Evans, Wells, & Moch (2003) Housing is an important aspect of people's lives, and it can have a significant impact on their mental health and well-being. The type, condition, and location of a person's housing can all affect their quality of life. Occupants living in poor-quality housing that is not suited to their needs may experience stress and other mental health problems. On the other hand, a person living in high-quality, affordable housing that meets their needs and is located in a good neighbourhood is more likely to have experience positive impacts on their mental health and well-being.
Photo Credit: Martin Corlazzoli
Someone’s home is an important part of a person's identity and can contribute to their sense of self and overall happiness. Housing is often culturally determined, and different cultures place different values on different aspects of housing and living arrangements. For example, some cultures may place a greater emphasis on privacy, while others may value shared living spaces and a strong sense of community. In many cases, the type of housing a person lives in can also be a symbol of their status and identity. (Van der Weiden 1993: 318-320 in Konings, 2001). Owning a home is or can be an important factor in creating one's identity and expressing it (Gram-Hanssen & Bech-Danielson, 2004). Having a sense of pride in one's home and feeling comfortable inviting others over can be an important part of a person's identity and sense of well-being. A person's home should be a place where they feel safe and comfortable, and where they can enjoy socializing with friends and family and not have feelings of shame or embarrassment. A variety of factors could contribute such as the condition, state and layout of one's house. The latter is especially important for children, who may need a private space to study or retreat to when they need to.
“I used to be ashamed to invite people into my home. The state of my home has a psychic effect on me. Where you live, has a role in how you feel. The problems in my house took up a lot of my thoughts. This is a nice neighbourhood, but my front façade is really worn-out. It feels like a disgrace for the neighbourhood. I’ve noticed that my neighbours also don’t like the state of my façade. This hurt and made social interaction more difficult.
But after the summer , my façade will be renovated. This perspective gives me peace of mind. The flyer at my window [saying ‘Here Gent Knapt Op is renovating’] gets noticed by my neighbours and then they come and ask about the project and ask if they can see the renovation works. I am always happy to to give them some information about the project. I am proud about my house. I will be so happy when the renovation is finished and I will be able to invite people into my home!” (participant of Ghent Knapt op)
Ghent knapt Op took on and worked individually with each participant to improve their relationship with their home not only technically but emotionally. Ghent Knapt Op project took a holistic approach to addressing the needs of its participants, recognizing that physical renovations alone may not be sufficient to improve their quality of life. By providing a range of social and emotional support services, the project was able to help participants access other resources, connect with their communities, and build their self-esteem. This can be an important part of helping people feel more secure and satisfied in their homes, and can contribute to their overall well-being.
Ghent Knapt Op project had a positive impact on the quality of life and well-being of the participants. It's not surprising that the process of renovation can be stressful and disruptive, so it's encouraging to see that the renovations had a positive impact on the quality of life and well-being of the participants. It is important to consider the long-term effects of any intervention, and it would be interesting to see if the improvements in well-being persist over time. The social and emotional support services provided as part of the project may have helped participants to better cope with the stress and disruption of the renovations but also to continue the renovations themselves!
Health and well-being
The quality of housing can have an impact on various aspects of health. For example, there are safety risks that can contribute to the occurrence of accidents, such as the risk of electrocution, CO danger or the risk of falling (Hwang et al. 1999). The presence of harmful substances such as asbestos, lead or radon or certain products present in carpets, paints or building materials can also have a negative impact on health, especially in the case of substandard ventilation (Hwang et al. 1999). Also moisture and mould can have significant negative impact on health especially on respiratory problems (including bronchitis, chronic bronchitis and asthma (Ige et al., 2018, Kreiger & Higgins, 2002; Norbäck et al, 2014, Scottish Government, 2011). The presence of dust mites and pests such as cockroaches is also detrimental to health (Hwang et al. 1999). Noise and too small a housing/living area for the number of residents can also have a negative impact on health.
It is interesting to see that the improvements in housing quality indicators may have had a positive impact on the health of the inhabitants, even in the short time period following the renovations. The increase in the share of participants who reported good or very good general health, as well as the increase in the share of children in very good general health, suggest that the renovations may have had a positive impact on the health and well-being of these individuals.