Unscrupulous firms are cashing in on the housing emergency
Unscrupulous firms are cashing in on the housing emergency

Homelessness is big business. I do not mean for the homeless families forced to live in squalid ‘temporary accommodation’, you understand. But plenty of people are queueing up to make money from it, and the opportunities to cash in are there.

Last night’s Panorama on the BBC shone a light on a murky world. More than 86,000 households in England are living in temporary accommodation – a population the size of York. And it is costing councils over a billion pounds.

How … Read more

How Shelter Bristol is working to help homeless women
How Shelter Bristol is working to help homeless women

We know that women have a different experience of being homeless to men. If we want to help women who are homeless, then our services must take this into account.

Bristol has a disproportionate number of homeless women, so our local service is looking at ways to address this, while considering women’s different experiences of homelessness. ‘We have identified it’s an issue in Bristol,’ says Penny Walster, Shelter Bristol Hub Manager, ‘and we have been looking at what we can … Read more

Late homeless appeals and legal aid cuts – key guidance from the Court of Appeal
Late homeless appeals and legal aid cuts – key guidance from the Court of Appeal

Today, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment on homelessness, in which Shelter intervened. It hammers a welcome stake in the ground regarding access to justice for people struggling with homelessness, highlighting the importance of legal aid in ensuring that people can appeal decisions under the Homelessness Reduction Act about whether they will be housed.

In Al Ahmed v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2020] EWCA Civ 51, Mr Al Ahmed suffered from a number of medical conditions … Read more

Will this be the government to end homelessness?
Will this be the government to end homelessness?

Things are clear. The Conservatives have won a governing majority on a scale not seen since 2005, itself the largest Conservative majority since 1987. This means that the government will be confident of its ability to pass legislation without the confrontation or negotiation with parliament that has become almost normal in recent years.

What the prime minister chooses to do with that majority will be telling. From what we’ve seen so far, things are going to be interesting. The Queen’s … Read more

Shelter Sheffield is helping homeless families have a merry Christmas
Shelter Sheffield is helping homeless families have a merry Christmas

Christmas can be a challenging time in normal circumstances, but if you’re homeless or have a housing problem it can be especially difficult. ‘What’s happening for people is that they’re struggling, they’re under a lot of strain, pressure, and stress. And Christmas just adds to that for some people,’ Shelter Sheffield hub manager Tracey Nathan explains. ‘It almost puts a spotlight on the difficult situation in which they are living, because it’s a time when you’re meant to be happy, … Read more

Former rough sleepers being hit by maximum universal credit deductions
Former rough sleepers being hit by maximum universal credit deductions

In the last few months, universal credit has been failing some of its most vulnerable claimants. People who have recently moved into settled accommodation after years of living on the streets are struggling to pay for heating and food – all due to huge deductions being taken from their universal credit payments to repay court fines.

What’s happening

The issue of these large deductions was picked up on by our case workers on the Greater Manchester Homes Partnership, an entrenched … Read more

A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes – this is a national emergency
A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes – this is a national emergency

My childhood made me who I am. I was incredibly lucky then and, no surprise, I’m incredibly lucky now. And perhaps at Christmas I was luckiest of all. In our house, where we had enough space, security, safety, and comfort, there were always presents, a big tree, a delicious dinner.

In my job, I so often reflect on my own good fortune, because our frontline services at Shelter are almost overwhelmed with the suffering, fear, chaos, and trauma that homelessness … Read more

It’s time to fix Britain’s housing crisis at its roots: land
It’s time to fix Britain’s housing crisis at its roots: land
Guest blog by Alastair Parvin, CEO of Open System Lab

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Imagine that the UK was restricted to only one web domain address for every person. Enough for everyone to have one each, but only just. Every year, in order to keep up with population growth, the government issues a few thousand new ones for a notional fee of £462 each. Some addresses get much better download speeds than others, but they all get issued for … Read more

General election 2019: A key moment to invest in local housing allowance
General election 2019: A key moment to invest in local housing allowance

For a long time, we’ve made a very clear argument that housing benefit for private renters, or local housing allowance (LHA), needs to be lifted up so that it covers the cost of renting.

LHA is now so far below the cost of renting in almost all areas of England that people are having to make impossible decisions about whether they cut back on food for their families or on heating their homes during winter.

This is why it’s incredibly … Read more

General election 2019: Big changes coming in housing
General election 2019: Big changes coming in housing

It’s housing day in the general election campaign, but it’s not a normal election housing day. In all recent elections the housing policies of the major parties have been welcome but small reforms at best and actually destructive at worst. Now, with major commitments from the big parties, this election marks a sharp turn from the incremental to the transformational. Make no mistake, the plans laid out to build hundreds of thousands of new social homes are big, as are … Read more

Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Corbyn: But what about the housing emergency?
Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Corbyn: But what about the housing emergency?

Last night, we watched with bated breath as Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson went head-to-head in the first party leaders’ debate of the 2019 general election campaign.

We know we’re living through extraordinary times in terms of housing – although these extraordinary times have now gone on so long as to become depressingly usual in many ways. The emergency we’re facing affects us all. Whether that be directly or indirectly, the national failure that has resulted in a 22% increase … Read more

New builds? Don’t get me started
New builds? Don’t get me started

Last week saw the release of data on housebuilding, with some good news for once; a little over 214,000 new homes were built this year, and total supply – including conversions – is higher than it has been for decades; 241,000 in fact. Given government’s target is to reach 300,00 net additional dwellings annually by the middle of next decade; they and developers are celebrating.

But if you understand the housing market, you’ll be waiting for the fall – … Read more