The aim of the paper is to illustrate how the housing system in the United Kingdom (UK) has contributed to creating vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on the concept of ontological security we look at how living with housing insecurity whilst enduring poor housing conditions has impacted the lives of those living in households. The paper draws on semi-structured interviews with 50 residents and 8 housing professionals. The findings outline the grinding impact of the pandemic on the ontological security of residents and the coping strategies adopted by a wider range of households who are now increasingly vulnerable. A number of people went into lockdown in vulnerable situations, experiencing deep inequalities and living in poorly maintained homes. This has weakened the ontological security experienced by many households. These represent significant failings of the housing system and housing policy impacting on the health and wellbeing of a wider cohort of people creating additional vulnerabilities.