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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
My son amazes me every day. He works so hard at school, he’s an A-star student. He never lets our home life get him down and it breaks my heart because there’s very little I can do to change things right now. This Christmas will be just like the last – cold, damp and difficult. I’ll make it as good as I can for us, but when you’re living in a cramped, temporary place, doing whatever you can to keep … Read more
In the last year in England alone, a household became homeless every four minutes. In that same year, 692 rough sleepers died, again in England alone. That’s an increase of 22% on the previous year. Hundreds of people are dying on our streets, thousands are homeless and millions are at risk of losing their homes: this is the UK’s housing emergency. It must not slip off the agenda during this general election.
Earlier this month, the Queen’s Speech introduced her … Read more
In our last post, the challenges that private renters in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) face in finding an affordable and decent home were laid out. This inability to access housing they can afford means that many people are forced to accept large shortfalls between their LHA and their rent in order to find a home.
Over six months ago, the government promised to make renting fairer for everyone – they committed to scrapping section 21, ending no-fault evictions once and for all. This long-overdue reform will transform the lives of private renters, particularly those who are worst off, and rebalance the dysfunctional relationship too many landlords have with their tenants.
With a General Election looming, renters will be looking for manifesto commitments to end no-fault evictions from all major parties. For all the parties, the … Read more