New LHA rates: what do they mean?
New LHA rates: what do they mean?

On 20 March, the chancellor announced that Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for housing benefit will be increased to match ‘the 30th percentile’ of rents in each local area. We’ll explain more about what this means in detail, but this is a major, necessary change that will help many people cope during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and in the future.

Why is this an important change?

Housing benefit is a vital part of the social safety net for renters. It … Read more

The chancellor must lift housing benefit rates
The chancellor must lift housing benefit rates

When the government announced it was ending the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – housing benefit for those renting privately – we and millions of households were hopeful. But as of April 2020, the government will lift LHA rates by only a pitiful 1.7%.

As our new assessment of the true impact of LHA shows, after a decade of cuts and freezes, the current proposals are nowhere near enough to provide a stable home for the estimated 1.4 million … Read more

In work – but out of a home
In work – but out of a home

60,852 families are currently homeless in England. But, we don’t know much about their lives, and what could be causing them to be unable to find a safe, stable, affordable home.

With limited information, stereotypes abound, and solutions to homelessness seem intractable and unclear.

But we have found an alternative government dataset that gives more insight on homeless families. Today, Shelter’s social housing commission are publishing brand new analysis of government benefit data, that reveals the proportion of homeless families … Read more

The benefit cap: real misery for no good purpose

We recently received some good news about a bad policy. Back in June, the High Court found that the household benefit cap is unlawful in its current guise. The benefit cap restricts the amount that an out of work household can receive in benefits to £442 a week for families in London and £385 for families elsewhere in the country.

Shelter intervened in the case to raise our concerns that the cap is putting families at risk of homelessness. The … Read more

The government's welfare cuts are hurting their efforts to stop homelessness

Renters on a low income breathed a sigh of relief last year when the government said it would not make any additional benefit cuts. But last week’s confirmation of the removal of housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds come April and the rollout of the reduced benefit cap earlier this year, show that there are still many reasons to be worried.

Often overlooked is the fact that all private renters in need of housing benefit (more than 1.2 million households) are also Read more

Reducing homelessness: The bill and beyond

In 2015, Wales changed the way it provides support to people threatened with homelessness. This led to a significant reduction in homelessness acceptances. The Homelessness Reduction Bill would make the English homelessness safety net look more like the safety net in Wales. We feel that this would ensure more people get help to try and resolve their homelessness. However, it will not necessarily have the same impact in England as it did in Wales. Here we set out why this … Read more

Preventing homelessness costs

This post was co-authored by Deborah Garvie and Jenny Pennington

Last week, the Government announced that it would provide an additional £48m to English local authorities to fund the new burdens they will be under as a result of likely changes to homelessness legislation. We are looking into the numbers to see if they stack up. But we have initial concerns about the way the proposed funding will be withdrawn at the point it may be needed most.

As Shelter’s … Read more

The Green Book: 50 years on

Shelter was launched to highlight a homelessness crisis. Now we are in the middle of another one.

Research launched today reveals that over a quarter of a million people in England are homeless. Most of these people are living in temporary accommodation provided by councils. Some are living in homeless hostels and some are sleeping rough. This is a conservative measurement. Many more people are homeless, but hidden.

These people cut your hair, sell you clothes and go to school … Read more

How would it feel to lose your home?

Recently, we’ve been working with Andrea, a woman from Bristol, on our fix renting campaign. As Andrea describes, home is something that you work for. You build it, both through decorating it to make it yours and through getting to know the people and places around it. And from this, you build a life.

For me, home is the start of everything. It gives you more than an address; it gives you a life and a community base. For my … Read more

Home and away: councils can, and must, improve how they conduct out of area moves

The National Homelessness Advice Service [NHAS] is a partnership between Shelter and Citizens Advice, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The aim of the service is to enable frontline providers including councils, voluntary agencies and local Citizens Advice Bureaux to deliver good quality housing and homelessness advice, and support the prevention of homelessness where possible.

We asked Vicky Hines, NHAS Partnership Manager – local authorities,  to blog for us about good practice tips around out of area … Read more

Home and Away: what do we know about the impact of an out of area move on homeless families?

On Monday we published new research on the rise in the number of homeless households placed in temporary accommodation outside of their home area. Over the next few days we’ll be discussing the findings in more detail.

As we set out, almost half of homeless households from London are now placed outside their home local authority. But reassuringly, most are moved to areas nearby (for example, in three quarters of cases, a neighbouring borough) and the vast majority are … Read more

Home and away: What do we know about the rise in homeless families moved away from their local area?

You may have heard that some homeless families are being sent from London to other towns and cities. Families coming to their council for help, are not just faced with the horrific situation of losing their home, they’re losing all that is familiar to them too.

But until now, we didn’t know the full picture of what’s happening. It’s true that more and more homeless London households are living in temporary accommodation that is in a different area than where … Read more