Homelessness Reduction Act 2017: we’d like your examples of personalised housing plans

The Homelessness Reduction Act, due to come into force next April, will result in personalised housing plans becoming an important part of statutory homelessness assistance. Ahead of a forthcoming Shelter publication on homelessness assessment and personalised housing plans, we’re calling for examples of personalised housing plans already developed and used by local authorities.

The Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force next April and is one of the biggest changes to homeless legislation for 15 years.

Local housing authorities, and others … Read more

Hundreds of affordable homes have been lost in Kensington and Chelsea: it’s time to shut the door on abuse of the viability process

Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower the challenge of finding new homes for survivors has been thrown into the spotlight. A challenge that is exacerbated by the simple fact that in Kensington and Chelsea, as in areas across the country, there exists a huge shortage of affordable homes.

One reason for this is something regular readers of our blog will recognise: viability assessments.

Today we’ve released some new stats showing just how startling the problem in Kensington and Chelsea actually … Read more

Old fashioned rent control: what is it good for?

Eye-catching retail offers on housing have become a party conference tradition, as much part of the furniture as the stuffy airless room or terrible phone signal.

Today Jeremy Corbyn stepped up to the plate with his.

A centrepiece of this was some intriguing language around rent control. He said:

“And we will control rents…Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections.” This is … Read more

Planning for the homes we need

Last week saw the release of the quarterly stats on planning applications in England. The data is our opportunity to get a preview of how many homes are likely to be built in the near future and helps us to assess whether planning slows down the delivery of the new residential properties we need.

Source; DCLG Table P120: District planning authorities

Planning applications take time and the chart of headline activity for residential and commercial, above, shows how the process … Read more

No shortcuts available: the Conservatives and a housing offer for young people

With party conference season on the horizon, there is a renewed chatter of a big housing ‘offer’ for young people from the Conservatives. This stems from a concern, reinvigorated by the general election, about what the decline of home ownership and rise of expensive private renting is doing to the party’s electoral fortunes.

So what are the options open to the government? So far rumours seem to be rumbling among journalists that Help to Buy – the scheme which providers … Read more

Government auditors say housing benefit freeze is a driver of homelessness

A National Audit Office report, published today, finds that the freeze on housing benefit is “likely” driving the increase in homelessness.  Shelter is calling on the Chancellor to show the Government is serious about homelessness prevention and announce an end to the freeze.

“The decrease in affordability of properties in the private rented sector, of which welfare reforms such as the capping of Local Housing Allowance [housing benefit in private rented housing] are an element, have driven the increase in … Read more

Local housing allowance cuts are too deep for renters to work their way out

Housing benefit freezes are putting renters at risk of homelessness. Shelter’s new campaign is calling on the government to pledge more help in the Autumn Budget by re-linking Local Housing Allowance to actual rents.  

Private renters are now enduring the seventh consecutive year of cuts to housing benefit. At Shelter we’re only too well aware of the impact this has had on people’s ability to find and keep a home.

It’s no coincidence that homelessness triggered by the loss of … Read more

Happier and healthier: improving conditions in the PRS

“The bathroom had severe damp, as did two out of the three bedrooms. The electrics were in a terrible, dangerous, state. The family had five children, the youngest was 11. Both the parents and the children struggled with depression and low self-esteem.”

“Damp and mould are probably the most reported problems, but they are often not the most serious. The most serious harm is caused by excess cold. It is insidious; the cause of death is never ‘got too cold’. … Read more

On the eve of the Grenfell Inquiry, London Mayor calls for a new Commissioner for Social Housing Residents

Next week the preliminary hearing into the Grenfell tower Inquiry will begin.

When the Terms of Reference were announced many, including Shelter, wanted the government to take a closer look at social housing, Shelter CEO Polly Neate called for tenants voices to be central in the response:

“In the coming months we must hear the voices of all those affected by this tragedy, loud and clear and with real influence, so they can get the justice they rightly seek.

“Tenants … Read more