Proving our worth

68,500 people. That’s huge.

If you’ve been following the World Athletics Championships, imagine every seat in the Olympic stadium taken up by someone who has a story to tell about how Shelter changed their lives in 2016/17.

That’s what we did, and do: we change lives, and now we can prove it.   

We’re not satisfied with feeling it in our bones, we want hard facts and figures to prove our impact, and learn from them.

Our Impact

Our first ever comprehensive and statistical look at our impact gives us that evidence. ‘First ever’ I hear you say – ‘it’s taken you over 50 years to know you’re having an impact?’ Absolutely not, our achievements throughout our history, and the difference we see every day, clearly show we’re doing the right thing.  But this is different. This looks at all our direct work by measuring it against some really clear and consistent criteria.

We’re here so no one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own, and our work won’t stop until there’s a safe, secure and affordable home for everyone. We do this by helping people keep their home, find a home, or improve their home. And this is what we compare our success against.

What we’ve achieved

Altogether, 78% of people who came to Shelter in need of help are now better able to keep their homes, have found a new home, or have improved their living environment.

This includes the hard work done day-in, day-out by our dedicated advisers who staff our ; and our face-to-face work in 11 locations in England and four in Scotland.

Even better, 68,500 is an underestimate as it doesn’t even include the millions of people that come to us for advice online every year.

What we’re up against

We work in a challenging environment. We are faced with the effects of the housing crisis every day. We see the devastating impact not having a place to call home is having on people’s lives. We struggle to keep up with the number of people calling our helpline, who are referred into one of our services, or come to our drop-in sessions. The lack of affordable housing means people can’t always get the home they need.

Frustratingly, and increasingly, sometimes it’s simply out of our control to give people the end result we’d like, no matter how hard we try.

That’s why we also look at the bigger picture and try to measure our campaigning efforts too. In the 2016/17 alone we influenced a number of policies to mitigate negative effects and encourage policies that we think will relieve the pressure from the housing crisis:

  • Mandatory ‘Pay to Stay’ has been dropped. This means that 290,000 social housing tenants don’t have to worry about unaffordable rent increases
  • The blanket ban on 18-21 year olds accessing housing benefit via Universal Credit has now been given concessions, meaning that only 10,000 young people will be affected now, instead of an estimated 46,000
  • Letting agent fees are likely to be banned in the near future, following Shelter’s high profile campaign ‘Letting Away With It’, which gained 22,415 signatures
  • Shelter Scotland have worked with councils to keep social tenants in their homes and are engaging with the sector to share best practice in tackling rent arrears

We’re proud of the work we’ve done so far to be transparent and capture the breadth of our impact. I know we will continue to learn from our achievements, and every year we’ll be able to show it and improve on it.