Will you keep a good thing going?
Will you keep a good thing going?

Paddy turned his life around, going from homelessness and addiction to working for Shelter. This happened because of Shelter’s peer mentoring programme. Now we need your help to keep a good thing going, by supporting this programme so that more people can help themselves to get off the street.

Paddy was living on the streets of Birmingham for five years and had a serious addiction to heroin and alcohol. Now he works for Shelter helping people with the problems he … Read more

Parents raising children in box containers shows the severity of the housing emergency
Parents raising children in box containers shows the severity of the housing emergency

A safe, secure, and affordable home is the basis of a good childhood. It’s a fundamental human need and that means it should be a right. But for tens of thousands of families across the country this right is denied, as the appalling human cost of our national housing emergency continues to grow.

At Shelter, our services hear all too often from people struggling at the sharp end of the housing crisis. Like the 18-month-old whose developmental milestones were not … Read more

If it is broke, it needs fixing
If it is broke, it needs fixing

Today sees the publication of the Children’s Commissioners’ report, Bleak House. It’s an upsetting exploration of the awful conditions that homeless families are having to endure, and highlights how broken our housing system truly is.

The report shows that temporary accommodation (TA) is rarely that at all; 40% of families stay in TA for over 6 months and 5% – that’s one in 20 families – end up in temporary accommodation continuously for a year or more. These are … Read more

Welfare safety net is broken, MPs find
Welfare safety net is broken, MPs find

‘As a nation, I believe we all want a decent safety net: if you’re facing a difficult moment in life, the state should be there to help you.’ – Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, 11 January 2019.

The government says it supports the welfare safety net – but is it still working? Back in December 2018, we submitted evidence to the parliamentary work and pensions committee’s inquiry into the welfare safety net. The … Read more

Happy 70th Birthday, Legal Aid!
Happy 70th Birthday, Legal Aid!

The aftermath of the Second World War saw the birth of our great welfare state. Four pillars provided the safety net people needed to ensure a minimum standard of living: decent and safe homes, healthcare for all, benefits for those struggling and education for children.

The unsung hero, which was never included in the welfare state’s four pillars, is legal aid, which celebrates its 70th birthday today.

While it may not feature in the top four, legal aid was, and … Read more

Shelter Birmingham's specialist domestic abuse service
Shelter Birmingham's specialist domestic abuse service

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or have recently left an abusive relationship, you can get in touch with Shelter in Birmingham for free, floating support.

Everything is confidential. We can talk to you about what support you feel you need, and assist you to find and feel safe in a new home.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse can take many forms. It might mean your partner is controlling you, controlling your access to money, or that your partner … Read more

Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls
Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls

The Supreme Court has just given judgment in the case of Samuels v Birmingham City Council, where the court was asked to consider whether a home should have been considered affordable where the housing benefit did not meet the full rent.

This is an important test case, in which Shelter intervened. It will have major implications for local authority homelessness services and put further pressure on the government to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates back to the bottom … Read more

Benefit cap: 'undoubtedly harsh' yet not unlawfully discriminatory
Benefit cap: 'undoubtedly harsh' yet not unlawfully discriminatory

Today, the Supreme Court has acknowledged that the household benefit cap is not achieving its stated aims and is inflicting poverty on people. However, the judges also declared (by a majority of 5-2) that the cap does not unlawfully discriminate against lone parents or breach the rights of their children.

The appeal this stems from was brought after the High Court found in 2017 that the cap unlawfully discriminated against lone parents with children under two – a decision that … Read more

Shelter Thames Valley: spotlight on our new Hub
Shelter Thames Valley: spotlight on our new Hub

Shelter’s Thames Valley office launched as our newest hub on 1 April, and we marked the occasion with a launch party and open day. ‘We threw it open to our service users, who came along and were absolutely fantastic, and to other partner agencies,’ service manager Jackqueline Hauxwell said. ‘We ensured that people could meet and mingle with the team.’

The Thames Valley Hub is located in the Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) Building at 27 Church Street, Slough. This … Read more

Permitted development scandal: homeless families put at risk
Permitted development scandal: homeless families put at risk

In the last few weeks, the controversial permitted development system has been receiving renewed media attention. This is partly because Labour, in a welcome move, have now pledged to scrap permitted development rights for the delivery of new homes.

This pledge comes off the back of reports last year, which highlighted the small, poor quality homes coming through the permitted development system, and a get-out clause that exempts schemes from providing vital social and affordable housing.

But, recent coverage of … Read more

Practical ways to help people sleeping rough
Practical ways to help people sleeping rough

Pointers and practical advice if you want to help people sleeping on the streets.

The number of people sleeping rough in England has gone up 165% since 2010. It’s a huge increase.

If you’re worried about someone sleeping on the streets, here are some practical ways to help.

Tell StreetLink

Let StreetLink know by sending them an online alert. Remember to have as much information as you can about the person’s exact location and appearance. The details you provide will … Read more

How we’re fighting the national housing emergency
How we’re fighting the national housing emergency

After Grenfell, we’re calling for a historic renewal of social housing.

Last year, we brought together 16 commissioners from different backgrounds and perspectives and across the political spectrum, to set out a vision for a bigger and better future for social housing. The commission was chaired by Reverend Dr Mike Long, Minister of Notting Hill Methodist Church, whose church played a significant role in the aftermath of the fire.

Calling for change

The final report was published this January, called … Read more