Ending DSS Discrimination
Ending DSS Discrimination

‘On benefits’. We live in a society which has given those two words an unwelcome significance they don’t deserve. Free state education, using the NHS, assistance from the police, relying on the basic state pension, we all often depend on the state stepping in to help us live full lives. The welfare state and the benefit system exists to do the same thing. And yet we’ve become comfortable as a society with the idea that ‘on benefits’ denotes a different … Read more

Finally, our family is settled
Finally, our family is settled

Guest blog by Shandor Nikitits 

Last time, Shandor shared the emotions he felt when he broadcast his experience with homelessness to the world. Now, he tells us about the impact it had on him and his son…

I was not prepared for the effect the campaign had on our lives in the slightest. I felt that Billy was the star of our little segment and reminded him that this counted all towards his fifteen minutes of fame!

I was … Read more

Sharing my story – scary, but the right choice
Sharing my story – scary, but the right choice

Guest blog by Shandor Nikitits 

Last time, Shandor told us about his experience with homelessness. He left off by telling us that he decided to share his story with Shelter – if only to help one other person struggling with the same situation…

I was very surprised at how friendly the Shelter team who came to film us were. They made me feel at ease… It was nothing like the sort of grilling I hear interviewers like John Humphries … Read more

How I became homeless
How I became homeless

Guest blog by Shandor Nikitits 

My name is Shandor. This time last year, I was made homeless.  

The exact circumstances are not relevant, but it’s fair to say that at a very defining moment –  10:25 on Thursday 11 July 2013. I spiralled, setting off a chain of events that place me before you today.  

I vividly remember reading the letter informing me that my lodgings were terminated, and I would need to vacate by 1 March, 2017. I was … Read more

'B&B is a prison sentence': children speak about being homeless
'B&B is a prison sentence': children speak about being homeless

The Change it! campaign, supported by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), is publishing new research into the lives of homeless children growing up in temporary accommodation. In this guest blog, Maria Stephens, Participation Manager at CRAE, writes about some of the harrowing stories that arose from the research – and about what might be driving the problem.

‘I’ve given up hope’

‘Living in B&B is like serving a prison sentence; I’ve almost given up hope. I’m 14 and … Read more

13.1 things to know about running a charity half marathon for the first time
13.1 things to know about running a charity half marathon for the first time

We’re delighted to bring you this guest blog from Glen, who recently took on the Hackney Half Marathon for Shelter.

A half marathon isn’t easy. That’s not even one of the 13.1 things for you to know. No, that’s just some straight-up complimentary truth to kick things off. If you’re not a runner, this is going to be hard work. But that’s the point – because you find running far to be plain-sailing, then you won’t get any sponsors. Your … Read more

Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today
Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today

From today, councils must change the way they help homeless people, as the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force.

The new legislation is certainly needed. Homelessness in England has reached crisis point, as the tragic reports of people dying on our streets during the recent cold weather have brought into sharp focus.

Few of us can say we haven’t noticed an increase in men and women bedding down. Street homelessness has more than doubled in five years: last autumn over … Read more

The minister doesn't know what's causing homelessness. We're happy to explain
The minister doesn't know what's causing homelessness. We're happy to explain

Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler attracted attention over the weekend for saying she doesn’t know why rough sleeping is rising.

We have front-line homelessness services across the country and are happy to help the minister understand why.

From our point of view, homelessness isn’t that complicated. Time and again we see the same patterns and themes pushing people into homelessness and through the doors of our services.

First, the facts. Since 2010, all forms of homelessness have gone up in England. … Read more

Homeless with a sick child: the stark reality of our housing crisis
Homeless with a sick child: the stark reality of our housing crisis

Rebecca is a mum to three children, including a baby with type 1 diabetes. To prevent her baby from becoming seriously ill, she needs to monitor his blood sugar levels throughout the day and night and provide him with a carefully controlled diet.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, Rebecca was facing homelessness when her landlord decided to evict her and her family.

A new report from the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) describes how Rebecca was badly let down by her … Read more

On Universal Credit, the government is ignoring the elephant in the room

As Philip Hammond prepares for this week’s Budget, it looks increasingly likely that he will concede on making some changes to Universal Credit (UC). Faced with opposition from his own backbenchers, who have challenged him with distressing tales from their constituencies, Mr Hammond may opt to reduce the six week waiting time for the benefit.

If so, it will be welcome. We have been calling for changes for long enough. Our frontline workers are seeing families reduced to destitution because … Read more

Young people are shut out of private renting

Shelter has said it, local government has said it, former ministers have said it – and now private landlords are saying it welfare reform is damaging young renters’ ability to access a home.

A new report, commissioned by the Residential Landlords Association, yesterday warned that under-35-year-olds will have difficulty finding privately rented accommodation as landlords cut back on renting to young people.

The report, by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, surveyed 1,996 private landlords around the country. … Read more

The benefit cap: time for a rethink

A version of this blog first appeared on Inside Housing earlier this week.

The reduction to the benefit cap starts on Monday, putting more families at risk of losing their home. Ministers should re-think the cut if it is serious about tackling homelessness.

Next week, 319,000 children will begin to be affected by a new cap on their families’ benefit payments. With Christmas now less than two months away and many already living on a financial knife-edge, the prospect of … Read more