'B&B is a prison sentence': children speak about being homeless
'B&B is a prison sentence': children speak about being homeless

The Change it! campaign, supported by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), is publishing new research into the lives of homeless children growing up in temporary accommodation. In this guest blog, Maria Stephens, Participation Manager at CRAE, writes about some of the harrowing stories that arose from the research – and about what might be driving the problem.

‘I’ve given up hope’

‘Living in B&B is like serving a prison sentence; I’ve almost given up hope. I’m 14 and … Read more

Grenfell: One year on
Grenfell: One year on

It’s been a year since 72 people tragically lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Since then, what progress has been made to support the survivors and make sure nothing like this ever happens again? I’m a Shelter housing advisor, and I’ve been working in the area since it happened – supporting many of those who were affected by the fire to find a new home.

Has everyone from the tower been rehoused?

Some 210 families who lived in … Read more

13.1 things to know about running a charity half marathon for the first time
13.1 things to know about running a charity half marathon for the first time

We’re delighted to bring you this guest blog from Glen, who recently took on the Hackney Half Marathon for Shelter.

A half marathon isn’t easy. That’s not even one of the 13.1 things for you to know. No, that’s just some straight-up complimentary truth to kick things off. If you’re not a runner, this is going to be hard work. But that’s the point – because you find running far to be plain-sailing, then you won’t get any sponsors. Your … Read more

Using service design to help the people who need housing advice the most
Using service design to help the people who need housing advice the most

As the first service designer here at Shelter, it’s been vital for me to prove the value of service design throughout our work. I’ve had the opportunity to deliver a significant step forward in the quality and quantity of advice we provide to thousands of people each day, so thought I’d share how this all came about.

Our national helpline is open 365 days a year, offering expert advice to anyone struggling with housing and homelessness-related issues. In 2016/17, our … Read more

Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles
Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles

It has been a momentous week for everyone campaigning for improvements to building safety, following the Grenfell Tower fire.

By promising to ‘fully fund’ the removal and replacement of unsafe, Grenfell-style cladding – and suggesting it’s minded to ban combustible cladding systems – the government is set to fulfil two of our key campaigning asks. We look back at what exactly the government has committed to and why it’s so important.

Money to remove and replace cladding

Our campaign asked Read more

Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway
Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway

This week, the commissioners who are leading Shelter’s Big Conversation into the future of social housing met for the second time. They reviewed the evidence that’s begun to come in– including interim findings from interviews with social tenants – and started to sketch out the direction their recommendations will take.

It was a wide-ranging discussion and we’re excited about the ambition of the commissioners. They met with survivors and bereaved people from Grenfell earlier this month, and the message they … Read more

Housing First: what so many street homeless people need
Housing First: what so many street homeless people need

Last week’s announcement from the new Secretary of State of funding for three Housing First pilots in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, and the West Midlands Combined Authority is very welcome.

We have long advocated a Housing First approach as a solution for many of the homeless and excluded people with multiple and complex needs with whom we work. In 2016, we launched a two-year Housing First pilot in Manchester, which was recently extended to a small scheme for women … Read more

Have your say – make sure more affordable homes get built
Have your say – make sure more affordable homes get built

Why are we missing out on so many affordable homes in the UK?

Only 41,530 were built in 2016 and 2017, despite the national housing crisis. One big reason for this is that developers and landowners are making promises on affordable homes that they know they can break – and this needs to stop.

Using the viability loophole, they can wriggle out of their commitments to build affordable homes, often before building work starts. They do this by saying that … Read more

Big changes looming for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme
Big changes looming for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme

This week brings a fundamental change in welfare support for struggling homeowners. For more than 70 years, homeowners, who have low incomes and who receive certain qualifying benefits, have been able to claim support from the government, through Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

However, from 6 April 2018 this support is changing. Rather than being paid as a free benefit, SMI will now be paid as a loan and any money claimed from this date onwards will one day need … Read more

Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today
Shake up to council duties to tackle homelessness starts today

From today, councils must change the way they help homeless people, as the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force.

The new legislation is certainly needed. Homelessness in England has reached crisis point, as the tragic reports of people dying on our streets during the recent cold weather have brought into sharp focus.

Few of us can say we haven’t noticed an increase in men and women bedding down. Street homelessness has more than doubled in five years: last autumn over … Read more

Government drops removal of housing benefit for 18-21s
Government drops removal of housing benefit for 18-21s

Today, the government made a welcome step towards helping young people escape homelessness. The Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, has dropped the government’s policy to exclude people aged 18-21 from the ability to claim housing costs in Universal Credit.

The change, which was introduced in April 2017, effectively meant that most 18-21-year-olds became ineligible for housing benefit. It was a policy inherited from the previous government; one that we and other homelessness charities warned would have concerning consequences for … Read more

The minister doesn't know what's causing homelessness. We're happy to explain
The minister doesn't know what's causing homelessness. We're happy to explain

Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler attracted attention over the weekend for saying she doesn’t know why rough sleeping is rising.

We have front-line homelessness services across the country and are happy to help the minister understand why.

From our point of view, homelessness isn’t that complicated. Time and again we see the same patterns and themes pushing people into homelessness and through the doors of our services.

First, the facts. Since 2010, all forms of homelessness have gone up in England. … Read more