Posts

Rosie shows why every homeless family is a tragedy
Rosie shows why every homeless family is a tragedy

Homelessness is all around us. But while we can see people sleeping in shop doorways or under awnings, that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

There are currently 61,480 homeless families in England who are not on the streets but are instead living in temporary accommodation, without the safety and stability of a home.

This kind of homelessness often feels like an abstract concept. We know these people exist from the official figures, but their lives are hard … Read more

Spring Statement: the housing announcements you weren’t supposed to see
Spring Statement: the housing announcements you weren’t supposed to see

Last week’s Spring Statement didn’t deliver much for housing.

The Chancellor’s announcement that £3 billion worth of government guarantees for loans to build 30,000 ‘affordable’ homes received plenty of positive coverage. But truly affordable social homes can’t be built on borrowing alone.

Government guarantees won’t go very far towards a solution for our housing crisis unless cheaper borrowing is accompanied by serious investment in capital grants for social housing at the next spending review (which we called for at the … Read more

How I challenged DSS discrimination
How I challenged DSS discrimination

A version of this blog was published on Huffington Post UK.

Guest blog by Philippa Lalor, a Shelter supporter and client

Almost one in three renters receiving housing benefit haven’t been able to apply for a place to live because of discriminatory ‘no DSS’ practices.

These range from a total ban on renting to people on benefits, to simply advertising a vast number of properties as ‘no DSS’.

As part of our campaign against DSS discrimination, Philippa successfully challenged discrimination … Read more

Zoopla bans DSS discrimination
Zoopla bans DSS discrimination

We’re celebrating another huge win in the fight to end DSS discrimination, as Zoopla announced that they are banning ‘no DSS’ adverts from their website!

Zoopla are the first major property portal site to scrap this open prejudice, which plagues portals by deterring renters receiving housing benefit from applying to homes, even when they can afford the rent.

For far too long, tenants have been barred from renting a home simply because they receive housing benefit – but changes like … Read more

Grenfell: Ministers can and must regulate to protect social tenants
Grenfell: Ministers can and must regulate to protect social tenants

Today marks 21 long months since the devastating fire in Grenfell Tower – the biggest housing tragedy in our history.

Yet still, we await the government’s new deal on social housing. It’s been seven months since they acknowledged there was a powerful case for strengthening regulation, to make sure it focuses not just on the governance and financial viability of housing associations, but also on how residents are treated and the level of service they should expect.

12 months after … Read more

International Women’s Day: we must see an end to women in housing poverty
International Women’s Day: we must see an end to women in housing poverty

International Women’s Day is a brilliant celebration of the women we all know and look up to, including our women politicians. But as well as those with a high-profile, we should also be celebrating the thousands of women, often hidden from view, who are keeping their families going despite facing homelessness and destitution.

Every day in the UK, women are waking up in poverty because they can’t cover the costs of their rent. This is no accident. The housing benefit … Read more

Two big wins in the fight against DSS discrimination
Two big wins in the fight against DSS discrimination

Over the last year we’ve been campaigning hard to end the discrimination people on housing benefit (also known as DSS) face when they try and rent a home.

Together we’re making a real difference. Last week we had not one, but two massive campaign wins.

The first is that the government announced a crackdown on landlords who simply refuse to rent to people who receive housing benefit.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler said:

‘Everyone should have the same opportunity when … Read more

IFS: housing benefit bill signal of failed social housing policy. But we need it more than ever to hold back homelessness
IFS: housing benefit bill signal of failed social housing policy. But we need it more than ever to hold back homelessness

Yesterday’s article by the Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), Paul Johnson, made a very welcome contribution to the growing debate that increasing social house building is the key to fixing our housing crisis. As our Social Housing Commission report showed, investment in social housing will reduce the spiralling cost of housing benefit. 

As the article points out, housing benefit gets considerably less coverage when it comes to debates about homelessness. We agree it’s about time housing benefit … Read more

Reshaping our Local Advice Services offering
Reshaping our Local Advice Services offering

As we described in a previous post, a key finding of our initial design research was the lack of clarity around Shelter’s service offering. One of our aims is to simplify the experience for users seeking help from Shelter. The Local Services project has been a challenging – yet useful – project that has helped move us closer to this goal. 

Last year we were asked to look at the part of our website dedicated to displaying … Read more

Right to Rent – time to end this discriminatory policy
Right to Rent – time to end this discriminatory policy

Today, the High Court delivered a damning judgment on the Government’s Right to Rent scheme, finding that the desired effects of the policy have been outweighed by its potential for race discrimination.

From the outset, we argued that the scheme, which criminalised landlords who let to those without the right to rent (such as people with unsettled immigration status), would lead to further discrimination in the rental market, including for some who have every right to rent.

We provided … Read more

'It's not fair to expect people and their children to hop about from home to home'
'It's not fair to expect people and their children to hop about from home to home'

Moving to a new house is one of the most stressful things a family can do. For Lucie, who has had to move seven times in the last 11 years, the upheaval has been a regular feature of family life.

The cost of all this moving has been high, both financially and in terms of disruption for her and her children. ‘It’s been up and down for years. I think I’ve had seven properties, and out of those landlords, four … Read more

The real cost of legal aid cuts
The real cost of legal aid cuts

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has finally released its long-overdue report into the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The act removed access to legal advice in all benefit and most debt cases overnight, drastically reducing the number of housing cases covered by legal aid. Now the MoJ concedes it has achieved just one of its four original objectives: to make significant savings to the legal aid bill.

We welcome the MoJ’s recognition … Read more