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Should safe cladding come at the expense of new affordable homes?
Should safe cladding come at the expense of new affordable homes?

The government has been criticised for deciding to pay for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding on social housing tower blocks by dipping into the budget for new social house building.

We have previously praised the government for stepping forward to fund this vital work to remove unsafe cladding. Alongside indications it will ban combustible cladding entirely, this will go a long way to tackling some of the construction failings that have been blamed for the tragedy at Grenfell.… Read more

Why town planners need to be more like Michelangelo
Why town planners need to be more like Michelangelo

A new report from the Raynsford Review explains why the planning system has worsened over the past hundred years and that, to fix it, we need to start talking about homes and not units again.

Planning is not boring, honestly. It’s critically important. It’s not about S106 and CIL, but rather affordable housing, and how communities function. And it’s at a crossroads right now, as the government is currently reviewing national planning laws.

It’s therefore timely that a new report Read more

Mind the gap: why do we still have distance between housing rhetoric and reality?
Mind the gap: why do we still have distance between housing rhetoric and reality?

If we measured progress by press releases, these would be heady days for the housing sector. Every other week for the past few years has brought with it a string of announcements from the top of government aimed at tackling the housing crisis and the shortage of homes.

Many of the changes won have been genuine and important. Letting fees banned; the affordable housing budget trebled since 2011; borrowing caps raised; all homes to be made fit for human habitation; … Read more

Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles
Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles

It has been a momentous week for everyone campaigning for improvements to building safety, following the Grenfell Tower fire.

By promising to ‘fully fund’ the removal and replacement of unsafe, Grenfell-style cladding – and suggesting it’s minded to ban combustible cladding systems – the government is set to fulfil two of our key campaigning asks. We look back at what exactly the government has committed to and why it’s so important.

Money to remove and replace cladding

Our campaign asked Read more

Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway
Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway

This week, the commissioners who are leading Shelter’s Big Conversation into the future of social housing met for the second time. They reviewed the evidence that’s begun to come in– including interim findings from interviews with social tenants – and started to sketch out the direction their recommendations will take.

It was a wide-ranging discussion and we’re excited about the ambition of the commissioners. They met with survivors and bereaved people from Grenfell earlier this month, and the message they … Read more

How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees
How much?! Your top 10 worst letting fees

There’s something to celebrate for private renters: the government’s hotly anticipated ban on letting fees is approaching its second reading. Because for too long, renters have been ripped off – shelling out £272 per person (on average) in fees. Together with our supporters, we’ve campaigned for years to stop this, so we’re delighted to see the government taking action through the Tenant Fees Bill.

Letting agents, and some landlords, aren’t quite so jubilant. Their days of charging outrageous fees are … Read more

Housing First: what so many street homeless people need
Housing First: what so many street homeless people need

Last week’s announcement from the new Secretary of State of funding for three Housing First pilots in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, and the West Midlands Combined Authority is very welcome.

We have long advocated a Housing First approach as a solution for many of the homeless and excluded people with multiple and complex needs with whom we work. In 2016, we launched a two-year Housing First pilot in Manchester, which was recently extended to a small scheme for women … Read more

More action needed to protect renters against unfair evictions
More action needed to protect renters against unfair evictions

Many renters in the private rented sector put up with unacceptable conditions in their homes because they are too afraid of being evicted to speak out. That’s according to the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee. In its recently published report, the Committee called on the government to address a ‘clear power imbalance’ in parts of the sector.

A standout recommendation, amongst many welcome recommendations that could see significant improvements in the sector, is a call on … Read more

Have your say – make sure more affordable homes get built
Have your say – make sure more affordable homes get built

Why are we missing out on so many affordable homes in the UK?

Only 41,530 were built in 2016 and 2017, despite the national housing crisis. One big reason for this is that developers and landowners are making promises on affordable homes that they know they can break – and this needs to stop.

Using the viability loophole, they can wriggle out of their commitments to build affordable homes, often before building work starts. They do this by saying that … Read more

Putting our service users at the heart of our work
Putting our service users at the heart of our work

When Amelia’s mum fell behind with her rent payments, her family found themselves facing eviction. As the situation became increasing challenging, they sought help from our Shelter Hub in London.

 Shelter helped us get legal advice and assisted with financial support so we could pay off debts. I started thinking, maybe I could turn this nightmare into something positive?

Amelia is now part of our growing movement of service users who use their experience of homelessness as a force for … Read more

What is a ‘desktop study’ and should they be banned?
What is a ‘desktop study’ and should they be banned?

Since the Grenfell Tower fire, the practice of using ‘desktop studies’ to sign-off cladding systems as fire safe has been the subject of significant controversy.

Despite the official review of building regulations calling for ‘significant restrictions’ on desktop studies and others calling for an absolute ban, the government has recently published proposals that could see them used more.

What is a desktop study?

Although building regulations have a reputation for being complex, some background is necessary to understand where … Read more

Housebuilding changes could mean fewer, not more, affordable homes
Housebuilding changes could mean fewer, not more, affordable homes

In March this year, Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a major housing speech as the government published its draft proposals on changing the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – the set of rules which guide how homes are built.

Our analysis concludes that despite the government’s intentions, parts of the proposals risk resulting in fewer affordable homes being built.

This is because an affordable housing loophole, known as a ‘viability assessment‘, could become both more common and more … Read more