Office to residential conversions under permitted development rights
Office to residential conversions under permitted development rights

Guest blog by Julia Park, Levitt Bernstein

If there are people who are ideologically opposed to the conversion of redundant office buildings to residential use, I’ve yet to meet them. The idea of adapting buildings that are no longer needed (or no longer fit) for their original purpose to a suitable alternative use is nothing new – and makes perfect sense. And it’s even better if that alternative use is housing, given the numbers we need.

That was undoubtedly part … Read more

‘If you’re on benefits, landlords don’t want to know’
‘If you’re on benefits, landlords don’t want to know’

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

A lack of social housing forces tenants on benefits to turn to private landlords – but they invariably find themselves locked out of the market. That’s why Shelter is defending the rights of those who rent, or struggle to rent because of discrimination or stigma.

When Jim Spencer was served with a section 21 notice by his landlord, he admits he didn’t … Read more

Home advantage: why the Housing First model benefits all
Home advantage: why the Housing First model benefits all

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

Offer a secure home to a homeless person and you’ll slash healthcare, probation and psychiatric nursing bills. The individual will flourish too.

“When you’re on the streets, you don’t sleep properly. You’re always on a heightened state of alert because you don’t know if you’re going to be urinated on, beaten, stabbed … I’ve had teeth knocked out, a piece of my … Read more

Health and home: how poor living conditions endanger wellbeing
Health and home: how poor living conditions endanger wellbeing

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

A place to call home – it’s a basic human right. Yet not everybody has one, and even families that do can find their health suffering from living in cramped and dirty conditions. That’s why Shelter is committed to defending everyone’s right to a safe home.

By any measure, a two-bedroom flat is hardly the ideal place to raise a family of … Read more

‘We’ve seen whole families forced to share a bed’: the housing emergency on your doorstep
‘We’ve seen whole families forced to share a bed’: the housing emergency on your doorstep

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

High rents and dwindling benefits leave many families unable to heat their homes or eat. Shelter is demanding that the right to a home be placed on a par with the rights to education and healthcare.

When Tariq’s* wife saw the temporary accommodation the council were offering the couple and their two sons, she cried. The three bedrooms were damp, with mould … Read more

Letwin Review: public-led, land assembly model for large-scale projects
Letwin Review: public-led, land assembly model for large-scale projects

Guest blog from Thomas Aubrey – Advisor, Centre for Progressive Policy

In his Budget, the chancellor announced plans for a simpler system of developer contributions, enabling local areas to capture a greater share of uplift in land values for infrastructure and social housing on large schemes. The supporting budget documentation is highly critical of the current system of developer contributions, saying it ‘is acting as a barrier to the delivery of housing’.[1]

Philip Hammond’s statement indicates that the current … Read more

Why the government needs to change the law on longer tenancies
Why the government needs to change the law on longer tenancies

Guest blog from Mind

Shelter has recently been talking about why the government should change the law to give all renters longer tenancies. In this guest blog from Mind, Charlotte Furber, policy and campaigns assistant, tells us how living in unstable housing can have a negative impact on our mental health and why Mind is also calling on the government to change the law to address this instability.  

Housing is more than just a roof over your head. It’s about … Read more

33,000 people had their say on social housing. Sixteen will ensure they're heard. One of them shares his view on how.
33,000 people had their say on social housing. Sixteen will ensure they're heard. One of them shares his view on how.

Guest blog by Rob Gershon 

I’ve just got home from the third meeting of the Shelter commission on the future of social housing, and I’m trying to sift through the information we’ve discussed today and my thoughts and feelings about it, so that I can try and summarise where the commission has come from, where it is, and where it might be going.

This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. From the outset, the commission’s meetings haven’t been minuted … 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