In a year of pandemic and lockdowns, you stood up to fight for home. In 2022, we’ll double our efforts.
We exist to demand the right to a safe home. And we couldn’t do that without support from people like you.
With your help, we’ve been able to demand more social housing, drive forward the fight for better renters’ rights and provide greater support for those without a home.
That’s why we want to take this moment to reflect on what we achieved together in 2021. And what we can accomplish in the coming year.
We continued our fight for a new generation of social housing. So that everyone has the right to a safe, secure and genuinely affordable place to call home.
Together, we took on government plans to make more new developments exempt from providing affordable and social housing. And we won.
In the summer, you helped us shine a light on the dramatic increase in overcrowding in recent years and joined the 100,000-plus strong call for more social homes.
In Manchester, we lobbied mayor Andy Burnham to pledge to build more social homes and he committed to tens of thousands more over the next decade. And last month in Birmingham, we supported the launch of Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign. It has already received support from local MPs, charities and grassroots groups.
We continued our push to change renting for good. When a new national lockdown was announced on 4 January, thousands of you signed our open letter to the Prime Minister to make sure renters couldn’t be evicted from their homes.
Standing alongside other organisations, we were successful in keeping bailiffs at bay until the end of May. We also pushed the government to provide councils with extra money to help house rough sleepers during that lockdown.
We challenged discrimination. After publishing some of our own research on OpenRent (the worst offender of housing benefit discrimination), 25,000 of you emailed them, calling for them to end DSS discrimination on their website.
Our collective efforts were rewarded by getting runners-up at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Awards for ‘Best Use of Legal’ after our three successful strategic litigation challenges to unlawful DSS practices.
We fought for better renting locally. Supporting the Bristol Fair Renting Campaign (BFRC) before the local mayoral elections in May, renters got firm commitments from candidates, including the now mayor. We’ll continue to support the BFRC to make sure these become a reality.
We said Enough is Enough. The spring launch of our campaign to bring forward the Renters’ Reform Bill met with early success. The government used their Queen’s Speech to recommit to the bill, introduce a White Paper and launch a consultation on a landlord register.
This last point was a major win. We have been calling for a landlord register for a long time and England remains the only nation in the UK without one. Last month, 6000 supporters emailed their council leaders to ask them to support a landlord register.
Enough is Enough was rolled out across the country this year. Our community organisers in Norwich, Blyth Valley and Plymouth spoke with people in their area experiencing bad renting. We ran street stalls in Kensington, Uxbridge, Sheffield and Blackburn to get the message out there. And every Shelter shop in England hosted a campaigns stall. Thank you to those who met us and joined our campaign.
Support for the campaign is increasing week on week. We now have over 48,000 signatures on our petition. Join our call to change renting for good here.
New secretary of state
In response to the appointment of the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, 18,000 of you urged him to fix renting, help people sleeping rough during the pandemic, and build social housing.
Then almost 3,000 of you emailed your MPs, calling on them to ask about these issues at Michael Gove’s first parliamentary questions. With your help, we can make sure housing gets to the top of his agenda.
With the onset of winter and the new COVID-19 variant, we called on the government to get everyone off the streets this winter. 29,000 of you joined us.
We handed in our petition virtually last week, and the government just announced an extra £28m to help vaccinate and accommodate people sleeping rough. The Homelessness Minister Eddie Hughes has also written to councils to say they should accommodate people sleeping rough. But we still need clear guidance for local authorities to make sure everyone is accommodated safely and given the support they need.
We won’t stop until everyone has a safe place to call home. Thank you for making this all possible.
But our fight for home doesn’t stop there. Through our services, we’re still receiving thousands of calls and messages from people facing the housing emergency.
Your donation could mean our emergency helpline can be there when it matters most.
Thank you and stay safe.