Shelter at 50: the razor thin gap between our history and present day housing conditions
Overcrowding and poor conditions were rife in 1960s Liverpool.


“At 6 Princes Avenue the house is in an appalling state of repair; broken windows, garbage all over the front yard, and no security as anybody can get in.

“A couple with their 5 children are all living in one room…They all sleep in one big bed behind a partition, making a room 4 ft wide. Seven people sleeping in one bed in a room 4 ft wide…They are on Read more

Is ‘pop-up’ the answer to London’s homelessness crisis?

Last summer we blogged about how pop-up homelessness accommodation was a quick-fix to England’s dire housing crisis. We wrote that while cheap pre-fab has a role to play as a quick relief for homeless families, it could never be a long-term solution, nor provide people with a sense of home.

Today, the London Borough of Lewisham officially unveiled their very own answer to the dire shortage of temporary homeless accommodation. PLACE in Ladywell – a council built and managed scheme … Read more

Listen: how can we fix renting for families?

Welcome to this Shelter podcast, presented by myself and John Bibby, taking a look at unstable private renting in England.

Why are renters nervous about bringing up kids in the private rented sector? Does it have to be this way? What can the government, and renters themselves, do to make private rented housing feel more like a home?

By speaking with renters and experts from other countries we look to answer all of these questions and see if England can Read more

Changes to homelessness law in Wales: Just Looking?

Comparisons between England and Wales don’t end at Euro 2016. Wales have recently ushered in changes to their homelessness laws and practices, which differ significantly to England. The changes have been jumped on by commentators, politicians and the media, who see them as progressive steps towards resolving homelessness.

Our colleagues in Shelter Cymru (a separate charity) have broadly welcomed the reform. Now the changes have been flagged by a government inquiry into homelessness in England.

But what are the changes? … Read more

Home and away: the rights of homeless families should not be buried beneath council pressures

Following the publication of our new research on homeless families being sent to live miles away from their home area, we caught up with Jo Underwood, Solicitor for Shelter’s Children’s Legal Service.

In defiance of legislation, ministerial demands and Supreme Court rulings, local authorities across London continue to house homeless families in temporary accommodation outside their home area and frequently, outside London altogether. Shelter’s recent report highlights that the current figures on out of area accommodation placements are unprecedented.

What … Read more

Home and away: out of area moves represent the sharp edge of the housing crisis

If you’re homeless in London in 2016, you’d be wrong to think that you’ll be automatically re-housed in your home area.

As the pressures pile on local councils already under siege due to the housing crisis, more and more homeless families are being sent out of their home borough. This can be just down the road in a neighbouring area, or it could mean moving Slough, Luton, Birmingham, Manchester – wherever the next cluster of cheap housing is sought.

What’s … Read more

DHP (Dysfunctional Housing Payments)

When you’re on the brink of eviction, what do you think it takes to get your council’s attention? A lot, it transpires.

Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are the last chance saloon for families about to lose their home. Councils manage this pot of money, and are supposed to use it to help prevent people from becoming homeless, or in another type of housing emergency.

You may have fallen into rent arrears because of a housing benefit delay, or be … Read more

When the housing crisis falls on our most vulnerable children

Caring for a sick child is enough for any family to have to cope with. But my recent visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital highlighted how some families are having to contend with a devastating combination of ill-health requiring, hospital care, and issues such as homelessness, poor conditions and overcrowding.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH for short) is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. Social workers at the hospital told me how housing is fast becoming a top issue … Read more

The axe of council cuts is falling on support for homeless people

New government stats show that councils are making drastic cuts to housing services, which includes support for homeless people. Last year budgets for housing services were reduced by 8%, more than any other council area. This entails cuts to services that should help house homeless households, provide advice and support to people who aren’t eligible for re-housing, and help improve conditions in the private rented sector.

Councils are facing a mammoth challenge. More and more people need their bins … Read more

The government still think that the Bedroom Tax is fair play

The Court of Appeal today ruled that the Bedroom Tax unlawfully discriminates against women feeling domestic violence, and severely disabled children who need overnight care. It’s a significant blow for a justly maligned government policy. But the government refuse to back-down.

The Bedroom Tax was introduced by the government in April 2013 in an attempt to reduce the housing benefit bill and make better use of social housing stock by penalising low income households who were deemed to be ‘under … Read more

Housing benefit delays and homelessness

Benefit delays and inaccuracies are contributing to the increase in homelessness. It’s something we’ve been concerned of for a while, and now the Work and Pensions Select Committee has flagged the risk to government.

Government stats show that over the last 5 years there has been a steady growth in the number of households at risk of being made homeless due to problems with a housing benefit claim. This often means a problem in the accuracy and/or timing of the … Read more

109,000 reasons for the government to build more affordable homes

Homelessness is fast becoming an unwelcome Christmas tradition. New government figures, released today, show that the number of children in Britain who face waking up homeless this Christmas has reached a staggering 109,000, as homelessness across the country continues to rise.

A quarter of all homeless households in England are sent to live in temporary accommodation in a different council area – and this figure has tripled over the last 5 years. In some cases this can mean being sent … Read more