What being a helpline adviser is really like
What being a helpline adviser is really like

Our helpline is vital for anyone who needs emergency housing advice, 365 days a year. Sharon, one of our expert advisers answers your questions.

Q: Who calls the helpline?

Anyone and everyone; people from every walk of life and across all generations.

Q: What do they call about?

It can vary seasonally. For example, during the winter months we have a lot of calls about damp and mould, boiler problems and general disrepair in rented properties.

Changes in legislation and … Read more

Every door closed to you, every avenue exhausted until you end up sleeping in your car
Every door closed to you, every avenue exhausted until you end up sleeping in your car

Join our campaign and stop this shocking discrimination against people on benefits from wrecking lives

Open discrimination against people on benefits is freely taking place up and down the country, in letting agent windows and online adverts. In ‘No DSS’, we have a sign that prejudice is rife in the housing market. And it’s destroying lives.

For private renters squeezed by low wages and high prices, ‘No DSS’ can be the final straw. Some landlords and letting agents won’t rent … Read more

Over a year since the Grenfell fire
Over a year since the Grenfell fire

Over a year later, we’re still supporting residents who survived the Grenfell Tower fire, and working to hold the authorities to account and leading the conversation on the future of social housing.

How we’ve helped

Immediately after the fire Shelter’s team of advisers, solicitors and volunteers offered expert housing advice and support. And we set up a new dedicated service.

We have so far helped 90 people from Grenfell Tower and 180 from the nearby community.

Stephanie, whose flat overlooks … Read more

The price households pay for poorly informed policy
The price households pay for poorly informed policy

The papers on housing affordability measures and their implications for policy released by UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Excellence (CaCHE) this week are an important contribution towards fixing the housing crisis. They highlight the inadequacies of how policy makers often conceive of affordability, and in turn how policy levers can be used to improve affordability.

The takeaway message from Professor Meen’s papers, as far as we’re concerned, is clear: the government needs to do a lot more work if they … Read more

How we improved our helpline to reach more people in urgent need
How we improved our helpline to reach more people in urgent need

The housing enquiries people come to us with vary from minor landlord disputes, to homeless families facing a night on the streets. That’s why we decided to examine how we could make sure our housing advisers help callers to our helpline who are in the most urgent need.  

This also gave us the opportunity to see how we could improve our self-help services – like our advice webpages – for users who don’t necessarily need to speak to an expert … Read more

Longer tenancies – what next?
Longer tenancies – what next?

On 26 August the government closed its consultation on three-year tenancies. Over the course of seven weeks, our supporters took advantage of a golden window of opportunity to make the case for more secure housing.

If longer tenancies became law, every renter in England would be better off. Renters would no longer live with the insecurity of being bounced from one house to the next on 6-12 month contracts. Instead they’d have the chance to make a house a homeRead more

Homelessness can happen so quickly – and to anyone
Homelessness can happen so quickly – and to anyone
Chris is a grafter. Always has been.

His painting and decorating business was what he loved and was a huge part of his identity. He always earned enough to be happy and never imagined he’d struggle to afford a home.

But one fateful day, he fell from a roof whilst finishing off the one last paint job of the day and his life turned upside down.

Chris woke up in hospital to find he’d sustained a severe head injury. In … Read more

Why the government needs to change the law on longer tenancies
Why the government needs to change the law on longer tenancies

Guest blog from Mind

Shelter has recently been talking about why the government should change the law to give all renters longer tenancies. In this guest blog from Mind, Charlotte Furber, policy and campaigns assistant, tells us how living in unstable housing can have a negative impact on our mental health and why Mind is also calling on the government to change the law to address this instability.  

Housing is more than just a roof over your head. It’s about … Read more

Tax breaks for longer tenancies – spending big for a two-tier system
Tax breaks for longer tenancies – spending big for a two-tier system

The government is consulting on introducing longer tenancies for private renters. Great news! But despite an announcement that the Secretary of State backs changing the law, there’s still a question about whether the government will follow through. New tax incentives and ‘better education’ are still officially under consideration alongside legal change.

It’s clear to us that anything less than legal change to give all private tenants more security by default isn’t meaningful change at all.

In this … Read more

Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … Read more

Private renting is broken. Now's our chance to fix it.
Private renting is broken. Now's our chance to fix it.

The government has proposed giving private renters more protections by changing the minimum length of tenancies to three years, and they’re running a consultation until 26 August. Shelter has a campaign to help renters feed into the consultation. Greg Beales, Shelter’s Director of Communications, Policy & Campaigns, explains the importance of this opportunity.

We are all familiar with the idea there is a housing crisis, but seeing the human and social cost of it can still shock you. And … Read more

Flatlining wages, surging rents and a national affordability crisis.
Flatlining wages, surging rents and a national affordability crisis.

Rents have surged ahead of wage growth in this decade.

Our analysis of government statistics shows that between 2011 and 2017 rents in England have grown 60% quicker than wages. Rents have increased by 16% while average wages have increased by just 10%[1].

And this isn’t just an issue confined to London and the south-east, as you might expect. This analysis confirms that rental markets in England’s suburbs, market towns and smaller cities are heating up.

This issue … Read more