Homelessness statistics make uncomfortable reading for politicians worried about welfare cuts

A version of this blog first appeared on the Huffington Post

Last weekend’s news was dominated by the political fallout from Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation and by signs of growing political unease around the latest proposed cuts to welfare.

For years we have warned that the government can’t just cut away the housing benefit that five million households rely on before building the hundreds of thousands of genuinely affordable homes we need. But could there be signs that the billions … Read more

Right to Buy replacement - four steps to good news

Official figures released today show that the number of homes started by councils continues to be outstripped by the number sold off through the Right to Buy scheme. Of the 38,479 council homes sold since 2012, only 4,594 homes have been started  – that’s 1 for every 8 sold.

Since announcing ‘reinvigorating’ the Right to Buy scheme, the government has rightly promised to replace homes sold through the scheme on a one-for-one basis. This was a welcome change to … Read more

The true scale of homelessness

A version of this blog first appeared on Inside Housing immediately after the budget last week.

On the face of it, last week’s budget was promising news for homelessness. £115m has been pledged to help tackle rough sleeping – arguably the worst and most visible manifestation of our housing crisis. Today’s move by the government to try and stem the devastating and avoidable rise in homelessness is a welcome step. But it’s also long overdue considering the scale of the … Read more

A crucial step towards a secure future for Scotland’s private renters

What can you do in a decade? Ask Shelter Scotland. For 10 years, they have campaigned to reform the private rented sector and last week, their hard work truly paid off. From 2017, tenants in the private rented sector will enjoy a secure home of their own. James Battye from Shelter Scotland explains just what happened – its inspiring stuff!

James Battye, Policy Officer, Shelter Scotland

Last week the Scottish Parliament passed landmark legislation to boost the legal rights that … Read more

Haringey aren’t the only ones struggling to find cheap properties in the capital

Unsurprisingly, Haringey are struggling to attract landlords to their new social letting agency scheme.

Because councils are restricted to finding properties which are affordable to tenants on low incomes, their challenge is reaching out to landlords who let out their properties well below average rent.

I’m not sure landlords letting out properties at the bottom end of the market always want to be visible to the state. A third sector organisation matching landlords with tenants recently confirmed to me that … Read more

8 things you didn't know about private landlords

The number of private landlords has exploded in recent years with the growth of the private rented sector. But in spite of this, there haven’t been many big studies dedicated to landlords and how they run their businesses.

To plug this gap and get some up-to-date data on landlords, we recently commissioned YouGov to carry out the biggest and most representative survey of them for five years. You can find the full results here, but here are a selection of … Read more

Budget 2016 - the housing and homelessness bits

This was the third budget in 12 months – or even the fourth, if you include November’s Comprehensive Spending Review – and a lot of the announcements had a familiar ring to them. So you’d be forgiven for feeling a bit confused, or even jaded, as George Osborne pledged once again to boost housing supply and extend homeownership via a bewildering array of small measures.

So here’s a quick summary of the most important bits for housing and homelessness that … Read more

Will Help to Save help the struggle with housing costs?

Tomorrow’s Budget will confirm further details of the government’s new Help to Save scheme, which will boost the savings of low paid workers.

The prime minister committed in January to help lower income households save for a “rainy day fund”. Open to households on working tax credits (or working an equivalent level under Universal Credit), the new scheme is expected to incorporate a 50p bonus for every £1 saved, payable after two years. Savers who put away £50 a month … Read more

As the Mayoral election nears, London renters are demanding change

In just eight weeks, London will have a new Mayor. Will they have a plan to fix London’s renting crisis? Hopefully yes, if our campaign is successful.

Housing is already top of the agenda for the Mayoral contest. More than 1 in 4 Londoners are private renters and we’re working hard to make sure their demands are heard. How are we doing that? By building a mass movement of renters and giving them a platform to voice their concerns.

Too … Read more

50 years after Cathy Come Home, babies still can't sleep safely

The policy team at Shelter recently met with the Lullaby Trust after the tragic death of two babies whose families had become homeless. The organisation provides expert advice on safer baby sleep, raises awareness of the causes of sudden infant death and works with bereaved families to provide support. This week The Lullaby Trust is promoting Safer Sleep Week and we asked chief executive Francine Bates to blog for us about the links between sudden infant death and poor housing. … Read more

Starter Homes: cash buyers welcome. Mortgagors need not apply.

The brave new world of affordable housing got even weirder last week with two fresh twists.

We have warned previously that the eligibility criteria for Starter Homes risk directing scarce subsidy towards higher earners. But in a new development, it has been confirmed that cash buyers will be welcomed to the scheme with open arms. While, in our upside-down world of affordable housing, mortgage lenders have warned that people needing a mortgage might find it difficult to secure a loan.… Read more

When the housing crisis falls on our most vulnerable children

Caring for a sick child is enough for any family to have to cope with. But my recent visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital highlighted how some families are having to contend with a devastating combination of ill-health requiring, hospital care, and issues such as homelessness, poor conditions and overcrowding.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH for short) is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. Social workers at the hospital told me how housing is fast becoming a top issue … Read more