Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway
Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway

This week, the commissioners who are leading Shelter’s Big Conversation into the future of social housing met for the second time. They reviewed the evidence that’s begun to come in– including interim findings from interviews with social tenants – and started to sketch out the direction their recommendations will take.

It was a wide-ranging discussion and we’re excited about the ambition of the commissioners. They met with survivors and bereaved people from Grenfell earlier this month, and the message they … Read more

Shelter launches call for evidence on social housing
Shelter launches call for evidence on social housing

In early March, we saw the first meeting of the commissioners who will be steering our Big Conversation looking at the future of social housing.

We’ve promised the commissioners that we’ll keep the content of their meetings confidential, so that they have the space to debate and deliberate. But suffice to say we were really pleased with the enthusiasm in the room.

We’ve deliberately drawn our commissioners from a broad range of political persuasions and backgrounds, but they all stressed … Read more

Shelter’s Big Conversation on the future of social housing

The Grenfell fire not only left an indelible mark on the community of North Kensington, but also sent shockwaves through the rest of the country. It’s notable that the fire quickly became viewed not just as a terrible, avoidable tragedy, but also indicative of broader concerns about inequality and poor housing.

The public debate after the fire quickly centred on the allegation that residents’ concerns had been ignored. This led to the suspicion that people living in social housing were … Read more

Alok Sharma: Our man in DWP?

When Alok Sharma accepted the job of housing minister in the summer, he liked to joke that the average life cycle of a housing minister was about ten months.

Last week he was shuffled out of the role without quite reaching that modest milestone, to be replaced with Dominic Raab.

There’s a debate to be had about whether the constant reshuffling of housing ministers is consistent with a government commitment to address the housing crisis. Although it’s worth noting that … Read more

Some welcome respite for housing benefit

Shelter’s main ask going into the Autumn Budget was for the government to lift the freeze to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in order to stem the rise in homelessness seen in the private rented sector.

Local Housing Allowance – the type of housing benefit for private renters – has been cut every year since 2011. It has frequently been one of the first benefits in line when the Treasury has gone looking for Budget savings, and private renters have seen … Read more

DWP’s wilful ignorance over the impact of local housing allowance

Yesterday’s confirmation that Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will not be applied to social housing was a welcome U-turn by the government. However, while it avoids creating new problems it doesn’t address the pre-existing concerns around LHA for private tenants.

Despite rising rents, LHA rate are frozen until 2020. This will put more than one million households at risk of homelessness by 2020. This is the number who will live in a local authority area where LHA rates – the … Read more

Getting real about options for hard-pressed renters

The rise in private renting has been well documented but is no less staggering for that fact. One in four children are now growing up in the private rented sector, compared to just one in ten a decade ago. This is in part a story about declining homeownership: the proportion of households buying with a mortgage actually peaked in the early 90s, long before the financial crash or anxieties about avocado-munching millennials kicked in.

But it’s also a story of … Read more

Local housing allowance cuts are too deep for renters to work their way out

Housing benefit freezes are putting renters at risk of homelessness. Shelter’s new campaign is calling on the government to pledge more help in the Autumn Budget by re-linking Local Housing Allowance to actual rents.  

Private renters are now enduring the seventh consecutive year of cuts to housing benefit. At Shelter we’re only too well aware of the impact this has had on people’s ability to find and keep a home.

It’s no coincidence that homelessness triggered by the loss of … Read more

Providing the legal protection to prevent another Grenfell

The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London has thrown into stark relief the question of whether housing law and building regulations are adequate to keep people safe. Shelter plans to commission a review to identify the current gaps in housing law, the weaknesses around enforcement and to propose legal solutions to reduce the risk of a similar tragedy occurring in the future.

To inform the scope of the review, last week Shelter hosted a roundtable with housing lawyers … Read more

How Shelter is working at Grenfell to offer housing advice and assistance

Since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, Shelter’s staff have been working to help those affected and ensure that homeless families are rehoused swiftly in the local area. Our adviser Kristi has been working on the ground all week and shares her experiences below.

Housing Adviser Kristi

When you get near to Grenfell Tower and the surrounding area you see flowers and vigils lining the streets, posters of the people who are missing made by their families and classmates. So … Read more

The need for answers in response to the Grenfell Tower

The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London was a tragedy, and the fear is, an avoidable tragedy at that. Hundreds of people lived in the social housing block, which was managed by the council’s arms-length Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. Residents have been left with nothing and hundreds are now homeless.

At present, we do not even know how many people have died, nor how the fire started and crucially why it spread so rapidly.

The prime … Read more

Shelter stories: The human impact of poor housing and mental health

Shelter’s new research highlights the link between poor housing and mental health problems. We surveyed GPs and members of the public and found one in five adults in England has had a housing issue in the last five years that has negatively impacted their mental health. Hannah Lee is a Family, Health and Housing Advisor in east London and works with clients with mental and physical health challenges. She explains here how housing problems can impact on families’ well-being.  

“Sadly, … Read more