Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … 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

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

On International Women’s Day, we mustn't ignore homeless women
On International Women’s Day, we mustn't ignore homeless women

International Women’s Day is a day to remember how badly women are being affected by our housing crisis.

While most people, when thinking about homelessness, might think of street homeless men, it’s important that we’re fully aware of the facts.

Women sleeping on the streets

It’s true that the majority of people captured by homeless street counts are men. Government data shows that only 14% of people sleeping on our streets on a given night are women.

But the women … Read more

Homelessness Reduction: time to get your Act together
Homelessness Reduction: time to get your Act together

Last week, new Homelessness Minister, Heather Wheeler, announced the publication of a new Homelessness Code of Guidance for local housing authorities following new regulations confirming that the Homelessness Reduction Act will come into force on 3 April 2018.

This means that local authorities, and those who advise homeless people, now have just over a month to familiarise themselves with the guidance and prepare for implementation.

The new legislation heralds a fundamental change to the rights of homeless people – and … Read more

Personalised plans – putting service users at the centre of new homelessness services

Today, we publish a new briefing on how local housing authorities should implement new duties to homeless people, which are due to come into force in April 2018 under the Homelessness Reduction Act. This includes the recommendations of an Expert Panel of Shelter service users, with lived experience of approaching their local housing authority for homelessness assistance.

From next spring, we’re set to see a big shake-up in the services councils are legally required to provide to people asking for … 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

Homelessness Reduction Act 2017: we’d like your examples of personalised housing plans

The Homelessness Reduction Act, due to come into force next April, will result in personalised housing plans becoming an important part of statutory homelessness assistance. Ahead of a forthcoming Shelter publication on homelessness assessment and personalised housing plans, we’re calling for examples of personalised housing plans already developed and used by local authorities.

The Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force next April and is one of the biggest changes to homeless legislation for 15 years.

Local housing authorities, and others … Read more

Government auditors say housing benefit freeze is a driver of homelessness

A National Audit Office report, published today, finds that the freeze on housing benefit is “likely” driving the increase in homelessness.  Shelter is calling on the Chancellor to show the Government is serious about homelessness prevention and announce an end to the freeze.

“The decrease in affordability of properties in the private rented sector, of which welfare reforms such as the capping of Local Housing Allowance [housing benefit in private rented housing] are an element, have driven the increase in … Read more

Grenfell: a home is more than a roof over your head

Whenever there’s a lot of media and public interest in people who are homeless, it’s important to stop and think what we mean by a home.

Homelessness often follows a period of personal trauma – the loss of a loved one, serious illness, the breakdown of a relationship, an escape from domestic abuse or violence, or the loss of a job and income.

These are all things that any of us need time and space to deal with emotionally and … Read more

Want to improve health and social care? Address homelessness and bad housing

Health and social care is a hot topic in the upcoming general election. Lack of suitable housing options push up the costs of care.  For example, London Borough of Southwark calculates it’s spending over £7m a year (or 35% of the total budget for these services) to unnecessarily accommodate adults and children in residential or supported housing because they’re unable to find a suitable home to move into.  Last week saw the publication of two new reports showing the terrible … Read more

Homelessness Reduction Act becomes law – now we need a cross-Government approach to make it work

Last week saw the Royal Assent of the first major piece of homelessness legislation for 15 years – the Homelessness Reduction Act. Likely to be implemented next year, the Act has the potential to transform the way homelessness services are delivered and ensure that all eligible applicants are given the help they need.  But it will take political will to tackle the drivers of homelessness.  In the run-up to the General Election, we’re calling on all parties to end … Read more