House building stats show we’re not catching up any time soon

As widely reported, the most recent house building figures for the first quarter of the year showed a 3% decrease in starts and a 9% decrease in completions compared to March last year, based on seasonally adjusted data. Whilst the number of homes built can vary considerably from quarter to quarter and the total number of completions over the last financial year did in fact increase compared to 2014-15, we are still a long way from building the number of … Read more

Home and Away: what do we know about the impact of an out of area move on homeless families?

On Monday we published new research on the rise in the number of homeless households placed in temporary accommodation outside of their home area. Over the next few days we’ll be discussing the findings in more detail.

As we set out, almost half of homeless households from London are now placed outside their home local authority. But reassuringly, most are moved to areas nearby (for example, in three quarters of cases, a neighbouring borough) and the vast majority are … Read more

Home and away: What do we know about the rise in homeless families moved away from their local area?

You may have heard that some homeless families are being sent from London to other towns and cities. Families coming to their council for help, are not just faced with the horrific situation of losing their home, they’re losing all that is familiar to them too.

But until now, we didn’t know the full picture of what’s happening. It’s true that more and more homeless London households are living in temporary accommodation that is in a different area than where … Read more

A new Planning Bill - why it matters

The announcement of a new Planning Bill in the Queen’s Speech hasn’t grabbed many, if any, headlines – and to be fair it was never going to. Whilst planning may not be on the 6 o’clock news, it matters to us and, hopefully, this new Bill will be a further step towards building the homes we need.

No matter what Shelter does – whether it’s helping people facing bad housing or homelessness or campaigning to improve conditions – the … Read more

London Mayoral Election 2016: Was it housing wot won it?

It’s fair to say that the political importance of housing in London has increased dramatically in recent years.

When voters went to the polls in 2012, housing wasn’t at the forefront of their minds. At least not according to polling data, which showed that Londoners placed housing fourth down the list of political issues facing the capital. It ranked behind jobs, crime and transport.

Fast-forward four years, and we’ve just wrapped up an election referred to by the winner … Read more

Facing up to defeat: why was social housing an easy target?

Housing campaigners need to acknowledge the uncomfortable quandary about the passing of the Housing and Planning Act. As we pointed out last week, despite near unprecedented concern in the Lords, the government ultimately felt comfortable enough to stand firm with its vision for social housing. It is a notable show of resolve in a year that has seen U-turns on everything from tax credits through academies to the Human Rights Act.

I think an anecdote from the start of … Read more

The problems for the Housing and Planning Bill are really just beginning...

The Housing and Planning Bill completes its passage into law today.

The Bill first emerged in October last year. Eight months, forty odd parliamentary sessions, sixteen million pieces of data, almost as many government defeats in the Lords, three sessions of ‘Ping Pong’, one use of the phrase ‘unelected panjandrams’ and a mini-constitutional crisis later, the Bill finally limps over the line to receive Royal Assent this afternoon.

As the dust settles, what is the story of the Bill and … Read more

Forced council sales – hampering local authorities’ fight against homelessness

Last week, we published research showing the Housing and Planning Bill could force the sale of 23,500 vacant council houses each year, with local authorities facing an average annual bill of £26m. In many places, these are modest homes that could be going to those in need of stable, affordable housing.  And as a result, councils doing their best to find homes for homeless households could find their hands increasingly tied. Our new analysis suggests that the hardest hit … Read more

Forced council sales: looking at the homes that may actually be sold off

The Housing and Planning Bill is now nearing the end of its passage through parliament. It’s changed a lot since it was first tabled by the government, but one thing that’s still included is the proposal to raise billions of pounds each year by forcing councils to sell much-needed council homes.

This policy will see councils forced to sell so-called ‘higher value’ council homes to the highest bidder and hand the money they raise over to the Treasury.

There’s … Read more

Whose homes are they anyway?

While publicity on the Housing and Planning Bill has been rightly focussed on the forced sale of council homes and Right to Buy, there has been little mention of a late Government amendment, made to the Bill in the Lords last month.

But it may prove to be a very big deal.

It potentially puts hundreds of social homes at risk of being lost to the sector, and could result in tenants losing the protection of regulated rents and landlord … Read more

Sponsoring the London Homelessness Awards 2016

We’re delighted to say that this year, we’re joining Crisis, the London Housing Directors and the London Housing Federation in sponsoring the London Homelessness Awards. Regarded as the UK’s leading homelessness awards, they highlight and celebrate innovation within the sector.

Everyone from registered social landlords, agency partnerships and public sector health organisations to housing and social services departments, and voluntary sector organisations are encouraged to enter.… Read more

Parental wealth the key to homeownership

This week has brought fresh confirmation that people’s homeownership aspirations are increasingly dependent on their parent’s wealth.

New research by Legal and General found that the Bank of Mum and Dad is funding at least a quarter of all mortgages in the UK. Gifts from family are now so commonplace that parents are effectively the tenth largest mortgage lender. This follows previous research from Shelter that found parents are spending more than double what the government does on housing each … Read more