DWP’s wilful ignorance over the impact of local housing allowance

Yesterday’s confirmation that Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will not be applied to social housing was a welcome U-turn by the government. However, while it avoids creating new problems it doesn’t address the pre-existing concerns around LHA for private tenants.

Despite rising rents, LHA rate are frozen until 2020. This will put more than one million households at risk of homelessness by 2020. This is the number who will live in a local authority area where LHA rates – the … Read more

Fair rent homes? Our long-term mission to transform renting

As you know, we’re currently campaigning hard to lift the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a type of housing benefit given to 1.2m private tenants who need help paying their rent. But since the government froze LHA in 2015, rents have risen and people are being forced into homelessness as the burden of their rent becomes too much.

If we don’t act now, one million households could be at risk of homelessness by 2020.… Read more

So, what's the latest on the Letting Fees ban?

We have campaigned since 2013 to ban letting agent fees – launching our ‘Letting Away With It’ campaign, which quickly received 13,000 signatures of support from people all across the country. We even produced a video highlighting just how ridiculous the fees are within the context of buying a coffee – you wouldn’t pay for fees like ‘receipt printing’ and ‘water renewal’ at a café, so why should you pay for similar charges when renting?

With the announcement of the … Read more

Making Fair Rent Homes a reality

The need for a new wave of Fair Rent Homes is clear. But how do we build them? And where is the money coming from?

The financing of new affordable homes has becoming increasingly complex. Prior to 2010, significant levels of grant and long-term bank loans could be combined to provide genuinely affordable, social rent homes. However, with the arrival of the Coalition government and a 60% cut in the grant available for affordable housing, housing providers had to … Read more

Getting real about options for hard-pressed renters

The rise in private renting has been well documented but is no less staggering for that fact. One in four children are now growing up in the private rented sector, compared to just one in ten a decade ago. This is in part a story about declining homeownership: the proportion of households buying with a mortgage actually peaked in the early 90s, long before the financial crash or anxieties about avocado-munching millennials kicked in.

But it’s also a story of … Read more

Learning the lessons from Grenfell

The tragedy at Grenfell Tower four months ago shocked the country and threw the country’s relationship with social housing into sharp relief. Since the fire we’ve been supporting and campaigning for the rights of survivors, and for wider changes in social housing. As part of beginning to understand what these changes look like and how wide reaching they need to be, we hosted a panel event this week.

This event gave Mahboubeh Jamalbatan, who lived in Grenfell Tower and who … Read more

BAME homelessness matters and is disproportionately rising – time for the government to act

Yesterday’s government Race Disparity Audit highlights the disparity among homeless households.  But this isn’t inevitable and its high time it was addressed.  Ending the freeze to local housing allowance would be a very good start.

The government’s Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, launched yesterday, tells us nothing new about race and homelessness.  The data was already there.  But it provides a focus to ask why race is still affecting people’s housing options in 21st century England.

Let’s face the … Read more

Shelter calls on MPs to help one million households at risk of homelessness

We are asking MPs to take action in the Autumn Budget and call on the Chancellor to end the freeze to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – the support low-income families receive for private rented homes.

Around 1.2m households in the private rented sector receive LHA (a rate of housing benefit for private renters) and about one-third of these households are in low-paid jobs and require LHA to top up their rent.

Since 2011, government reforms have slowly lowered the value … Read more

Conservative Party Conference: Government rallies around renters!

A year ago, Theresa May used her speech at Conservative Party Conference to commit to intervening in markets which aren’t delivering as they should. At the time, we wrote on this blog about how this could potentially be good news for the millions of renters who are battling a dysfunctional rental market. It seems we were right to hopeful. At the weekend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced a range of measures aimed at improving … Read more

7 things to consider when communicating about welfare

You may have seen mine and Paul’s previous blogs about our campaign to soften public attitudes towards welfare, so that political parties will feel less emboldened to implement further cuts, and will work towards improving the system going forward.

We’ve just finished our second pilot of the campaign. We learnt from our target audience and applied some behaviour change theory to our campaigning approach. Here’s seven things we’ve learned (in no particular order).

        

1. Be authentic

The public can tell … Read more