Social housing: foundation or springboard?

Today, Shelter is publishing information and evidence to assist local councils as they begin to compile their ‘Tenancy Strategies’ in the run up to the January 2013 deadline.

These strategies, required by the Localism Act 2011, need to set out how councils intend to respond to housing need, and specifically how they would like new social tenancies, such as those offered by housing associations, to operate in their area

Back in February, I spent an inspiring day with the … Read more

Build homes to get us back to growth

Today’s dire growth figures, driven by a cliff-edge fall in construction, should be a huge worry to the Government. Lower growth and a smaller economy mean that it will be much harder to get unemployed people back to work, get businesses investing and reduce the gap between what we spend and what we collect in taxes.

While ministers and some economists have previously described the latest downturn as a ‘technical recession’, we have now had a period of … Read more

Why does housing matter to our well-being?

When David Cameron announced last year there was to be a national measure of well-being the first thing that sprang to my mind was: ‘Surely your home must play an integral part in your overall happiness?’ Not a surprising comment from someone working at a housing charity campaigning for housing to be included in the measure, I hear you say. But the evidence stacks up too.

Last year Shelter commissioned the new economics foundation to carry out an exploratory study … Read more

We must spend less on housing

The news has been worryingly free of house price stories of late, forcing some papers to fill pages with minor distractions like the Olympics, Leveson and the great summer weather.

Thankfully the IMF has come to the rescue of editors everywhere, with its annual report on the UK economy suggesting that house prices still need to fall by 10-15% now-ish – and by up to 30% to get back to trend.

Inevitably, the response from some quarters will be for … Read more

Where the home is...

Many a time on this blog, emphasis has been put on how easy it is to lose a home. An unexpected event can throw things up in the air; a serious illness can prevent you paying the bills, the end of a relationship can spiral in the wrong direction.

Put simply, there’s only a frail safety net there which can be easily torn apart by life’s twists and turns.

At Shelter we believe that people who have become homeless should … Read more

Action for renters?

I like the idea of people power – people on their own or coming together to resolve issues in the market. It’s something we hear a lot of at Shelter – we get sent lots of suggestions to help tenants make educated choices, such as tenant training and tripadvisor-style websites.

But until recently, examples of real hands-on private renters campaigning were few and far between, save for the likes of longstanding groups in Brent, Camden, Scarborough and BlackpoolRead more

Benefit cap: Homelessness threat or success story?

Today the Government lays regulations to bring the overall benefit cap into force from April 2013. This measure – which restricts the total amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive to £26,000 a year –  proved to be one of the biggest flashpoints of recent welfare reform.

The Government lost a crunch vote that amended the cap to remove child benefit, although Ministers overturned it by citing financial privilege. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was forced to … Read more

Are you a Grend?

Ok, it sounds like an insult, but this was the question asked today in the Times (£). It stands for ‘Graduates Renting, Employed, No Deposit’ – an increasing group of young-ish people priced out of owning a home.

Here at Shelter, we hear from ‘Grends’ all the time – debating with us and one another on Twitter and Facebook, and, more surprisingly, through our helpline and web services. Shelter helps anyone who needs us, and increasingly, many middle-income working … Read more

Has the LIBOR scandal caused repossessions?

If you hadn’t heard of LIBOR at the start of last week, chances are that you have by now. MPs are grilling former banking boss Bob Diamond as I type!

This key interest rate is a measure of how much it would cost banks to borrow from each other. It is used as a benchmark interest rate for trillions of pounds of financial transactions around the world, and last week the FSA fined Barclays for attempting to manipulate it.

Mortgage … Read more