We need a new generation of social rent homes
We need a new generation of social rent homes

Today, almost a year after we announced its launch on this blog, our commission on Social Housing delivers its final report: ‘Building for our Future: A Vision for Social Housing’.

This landmark report was put together by 16 independent commissioners, drawn from all walks of life and political persuasions. The commissioners were not a group of housing experts when they began this project, but every one of them brought experience, expertise and insight to this work. We cannot … Read more

Home advantage: why the Housing First model benefits all
Home advantage: why the Housing First model benefits all

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

Offer a secure home to a homeless person and you’ll slash healthcare, probation and psychiatric nursing bills. The individual will flourish too.

“When you’re on the streets, you don’t sleep properly. You’re always on a heightened state of alert because you don’t know if you’re going to be urinated on, beaten, stabbed … I’ve had teeth knocked out, a piece of my … Read more

Legal aid: the missing cornerstone of renters’ rights
Legal aid: the missing cornerstone of renters’ rights

Access to justice is a fundamental human right – but one that is increasingly difficult to exercise.

Since the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), thousands of people are unable to access legal advice for help with benefits and debt problems, or with other tenancy issues at an early stage – so much so that the number of new benefit cases opened under legal aid has dropped by 99% since 2013.

This means … Read more

Fitness for Human Habitation: An early Christmas present for renters
Fitness for Human Habitation: An early Christmas present for renters

Renters received a welcome Christmas present today, as the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill finally completed its journey through parliament. Let’s unwrap it…

The Bill revives legislation requiring homes to be ‘fit for human habitation’ at the start of the tenancy and to remain so throughout. Extraordinarily, this is a not a protection currently enjoyed by any renter – social or private – in England. Although landlords have responsibilities to do repairs, there are some glaring omissions – including, for … Read more

A united front to ending the LHA rate freeze
A united front to ending the LHA rate freeze

As we revealed last month, homelessness is continuing to rise. The causes and solutions to homelessness are heavily debated. But one thing is for sure – homelessness isn’t inevitable. It can be prevented.

Along with others, including local housing authorities, Shelter has long argued that benefits are to blame. Restrictions to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates are driving homelessness rates upwards. These increases are, also, making it difficult for local authorities to help families out of homelessness and … Read more

Only making longer tenancies the law will help low income renters
Only making longer tenancies the law will help low income renters

In the coming months, the government is due to report the results of its consultation on longer private tenancies. It will be our first chance to see whether the government will stick to its guns and change the law, so that all private renters get a longer tenancy and genuine security from no-fault ‘Section 21’ evictions.

In this post we’ll consider what will happen if the government loses its nerve by opting for a non-legislative, voluntary approach. If it … Read more

Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights
Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights

New analysis sheds light on the impact of a social housing get out clause in England. Our research estimates that urban authorities have missed out on over 10,000 affordable homes between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

In 2018, Theresa May promised a ‘new generation of council homes to help fix our broken housing market’. We welcome this, and the announcement of an additional £2 billion for housing associations to help deliver on it. With just under 6,500 socially rented houses delivered in … Read more

How we got our advisers to answer more emergency helpline calls
How we got our advisers to answer more emergency helpline calls

As a service delivery organisation, we face constant demand pressure on our already overstretched services. This isn’t going to change any time soon   so it’s essential we optimise and improve the way our clients engage with our services.  

Previously, we talked about redefining what ‘urgency’ means to different people, and how it could impact their experience of using our housing helpline service. We introduced our emergency helpline number, which gives service users the option to decide how important their … Read more

The benefit cap is harming struggling families
The benefit cap is harming struggling families

At Shelter, our solicitors and many other legal aid housing lawyers frequently represent families who are struggling in unimaginable ways under the household benefit cap. This policy, introduced in 2013 and revised in 2016, caps the amount in state benefits that an individual household can claim per year. Many families affected by the cap are now at breaking point.

A grandmother who gave up work to care for her five grandchildren, only for her benefits to be capped because … Read more

Why our shops provide an alternative to Christmas consumerism
Why our shops provide an alternative to Christmas consumerism

An older, wiser friend of mine recently said: ‘I can’t help feeling sorry for young parents these days. First there’s advent calendars with a present for every day of December, then there’s Christmas Eve boxes full of presents, then stockings, then the big presents on the day itself, and on top of that, some bright spark has come up with Elf on the Shelf’!’

She might just have a point. But it isn’t just parents who feel the pressure. From … Read more

Stop DSS Discrimination: Live blog
Stop DSS Discrimination: Live blog
This blog rounds up everything we’re doing in the fight to end DSS discrimination.

We’re campaigning against discrimination faced by renters receiving Housing Benefit. So-called ‘no DSS’ policies are unfairly locking hundreds of thousands of people out of homes they could otherwise afford, pushing them closer to homelessness. You can join our campaign here.

Stop by this blog regularly for the latest updates on the campaign!

17 May: Normalising prejudice

Housing campaigner Philippa Lalor has blogged for Metro OnlineRead more

Letwin Review: public-led, land assembly model for large-scale projects
Letwin Review: public-led, land assembly model for large-scale projects

Guest blog from Thomas Aubrey – Advisor, Centre for Progressive Policy

In his Budget, the chancellor announced plans for a simpler system of developer contributions, enabling local areas to capture a greater share of uplift in land values for infrastructure and social housing on large schemes. The supporting budget documentation is highly critical of the current system of developer contributions, saying it ‘is acting as a barrier to the delivery of housing’.[1]

Philip Hammond’s statement indicates that the current … Read more