Homelessness Reduction Bill: Report and Third Reading

Today, the Homelessness Reduction Bill passed Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Commons. Shelter supports the overall aims of the Bill, particularly the emphasis on the prevention of homelessness and offering help to more people. However, the Bill alone will not significantly reduce homelessness, even with the new money announced by the Government.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill has come a long way since it was first introduced to the House of Commons last June. Although the … Read more

Reducing homelessness: The bill and beyond

In 2015, Wales changed the way it provides support to people threatened with homelessness. This led to a significant reduction in homelessness acceptances. The Homelessness Reduction Bill would make the English homelessness safety net look more like the safety net in Wales. We feel that this would ensure more people get help to try and resolve their homelessness. However, it will not necessarily have the same impact in England as it did in Wales. Here we set out why this … Read more

Alternatives to local welfare schemes - because being unable to afford a fridge should not mean losing your home

Making a new tenancy work after a period of homelessness is near on impossible if you have no cooker, fridge, carpets or curtains. Local council schemes to help families in extreme financial distress are disappearing in many parts of the country, and without them, more families will find themselves at risk of homelessness. We are looking at existing good practice and new ideas to better help families avoid homelessness – because being unable to afford a fridge should not mean … Read more

Weakening space standards won’t make homes cheaper – just smaller

Lots of rumours have filled the vacuum created by the delay in publishing the White Paper on housing. The most worrying one, to my mind, is a persistent suggestion that space standards could be watered down.

This is troubling because we barely even have space standards in this country, and what we have are by no means generous, and in any case are purely voluntary for local councils to adopt.

In fact, no-one actually seems to think they are … Read more

Preventing homelessness costs

This post was co-authored by Deborah Garvie and Jenny Pennington

Last week, the Government announced that it would provide an additional £48m to English local authorities to fund the new burdens they will be under as a result of likely changes to homelessness legislation. We are looking into the numbers to see if they stack up. But we have initial concerns about the way the proposed funding will be withdrawn at the point it may be needed most.

As Shelter’s … Read more

How smart intervention in the land market could save us a lot of money

Successive governments have promised to sell off large amounts of public land, to allow more homes to be built. As we wait for the long-awaited White Paper on housing we think it might be smarter for public authorities to be acquiring land instead. Here, guest blogger Thomas Hoepfner, cofounder and director of the New Garden Cities Alliance, tells the story of how Hamburg built a thriving new neighbourhood – and a new port – using this method.

Why … Read more

‘Exporting’ homeless families: is it legal and is it right?

Westminster council has confirmed plans to permanently rehouse homeless families outside of the borough and in some cases outside of London.

It has become common place for London boroughs to temporarily rehouse people outside of their local area but Westminster now plans to relocate seemingly large numbers of families as a permanent solution to their housing needs.

Last month it was revealed that Westminster council had purchased 24 new build homes in the neighbouring borough of Hounslow, apparently for allocation … Read more

White Paper or white flag?

The forthcoming White Paper is a huge opportunity to tackle the dysfunctional  housebuilding system. Following Shelter’s recommendations for bold reform would show that the government means business.

The government is due to publish a long awaited White Paper on housebuilding in the next few weeks. There is clearly an intense debate within Whitehall about how bold any reform should be – and some reports are suggesting that earlier plans for radical reform are being watered down to prevent a backlash … Read more

Will the housing White Paper deliver?

The rash of housing announcements this week suggest that the government machine is gearing up for the eagerly-awaited White Paper. Some reports – like today’s article in the FT – suggest there’s a struggle going on over the strategic direction of the White Paper. This is unsurprising: everyone accepts that resolving England’s chronic housing shortage will require the grasping of some pretty tough nettles, so some debate over the strategy is entirely appropriate.

Broadly, it’s really positive that DCLG want … Read more

The re-animation of Starter Homes

The first big housing news of 2017 is that one of 2016’s most controversial policies is back. The first Starter Homes will now be built in 30 local areas around England.

At first glance, Starter Homes may sound like a good idea: new homes, built on brownfield land, for struggling first time buyers, and sold at a 20% discount to the market price. What’s not to like?

When it was first proposed, we rather liked the idea of finding land … Read more