Older people are being let down by the housing system when they need it most
Older people are being let down by the housing system when they need it most

Imagine spending your seventies in a grim hostel room, sharing a bathroom and kitchen with strangers, not knowing if and when you’ll have to move somewhere new.  

Today is World Homeless Day, and a chance for us to reflect on homelessness in all its forms. While most of us are deeply concerned by the growing number of people sleeping rough on our streets, this is just tip of the iceberg of our growing emergency whose impact we are striving to understand, and whose impact on older people is particularly well hidden and rarely considered.  

Homelessness does not only happen to people … Read more

World Homeless Day: ending our housing emergency
World Homeless Day: ending our housing emergency

Raising awareness for World Homeless Day is something we shouldn’t have to be doing. However, with almost 280,000 people – 126,000 of who are children – currently recorded as homeless in England, it’s vital that we continue to mark this day.

Homelessness goes much deeper than rough sleeping, although this is the sharpest visible reminder of the problems that come from not having a stable home. But our country’s chronic lack of social housing and welfare reforms are driving up … Read more

One paycheque away from losing their home
One paycheque away from losing their home

Every month is a struggle for mum of three Joanna. Despite working as a dinner lady at a local primary school, her paycheque is nowhere near enough to cover her rent and pay for food, bills, and all the other costs associated with supporting a family.

‘It’s a constant battle trying to make things work,’ Joanna tells Shelter. ‘When I go to the supermarket, the first place I’m looking is in the reduced section. This is normal to me. It’s … Read more

Will you keep a good thing going?
Will you keep a good thing going?

Paddy turned his life around, going from homelessness and addiction to working for Shelter. This happened because of Shelter’s peer mentoring programme. Now we need your help to keep a good thing going, by supporting this programme so that more people can help themselves to get off the street.

Paddy was living on the streets of Birmingham for five years and had a serious addiction to heroin and alcohol. Now he works for Shelter helping people with the problems he … Read more

Parents raising children in box containers shows the severity of the housing emergency
Parents raising children in box containers shows the severity of the housing emergency

A safe, secure, and affordable home is the basis of a good childhood. It’s a fundamental human need and that means it should be a right. But for tens of thousands of families across the country this right is denied, as the appalling human cost of our national housing emergency continues to grow.

At Shelter, our services hear all too often from people struggling at the sharp end of the housing crisis. Like the 18-month-old whose developmental milestones were not … Read more

If it is broke, it needs fixing
If it is broke, it needs fixing

Today sees the publication of the Children’s Commissioners’ report, Bleak House. It’s an upsetting exploration of the awful conditions that homeless families are having to endure, and highlights how broken our housing system truly is.

The report shows that temporary accommodation (TA) is rarely that at all; 40% of families stay in TA for over 6 months and 5% – that’s one in 20 families – end up in temporary accommodation continuously for a year or more. These are … Read more

Welfare safety net is broken, MPs find
Welfare safety net is broken, MPs find

‘As a nation, I believe we all want a decent safety net: if you’re facing a difficult moment in life, the state should be there to help you.’ – Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, 11 January 2019.

The government says it supports the welfare safety net – but is it still working? Back in December 2018, we submitted evidence to the parliamentary work and pensions committee’s inquiry into the welfare safety net. The … Read more

Benefit cap: 'undoubtedly harsh' yet not unlawfully discriminatory
Benefit cap: 'undoubtedly harsh' yet not unlawfully discriminatory

Today, the Supreme Court has acknowledged that the household benefit cap is not achieving its stated aims and is inflicting poverty on people. However, the judges also declared (by a majority of 5-2) that the cap does not unlawfully discriminate against lone parents or breach the rights of their children.

The appeal this stems from was brought after the High Court found in 2017 that the cap unlawfully discriminated against lone parents with children under two – a decision that … Read more

Permitted development scandal: homeless families put at risk
Permitted development scandal: homeless families put at risk

In the last few weeks, the controversial permitted development system has been receiving renewed media attention. This is partly because Labour, in a welcome move, have now pledged to scrap permitted development rights for the delivery of new homes.

This pledge comes off the back of reports last year, which highlighted the small, poor quality homes coming through the permitted development system, and a get-out clause that exempts schemes from providing vital social and affordable housing.

But, recent coverage of … Read more

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

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

‘My baby’s first home was a hostel...’
‘My baby’s first home was a hostel...’

Francesca, a working mother from south London, gave birth to her baby son, Malachi while she was living in a hostel.

With help from our expert housing advisers, she was able to leave the hostel and create a better future for her children.

‘I lived in one room in a hostel from July 2014 until January 2015, with my 11-year-old daughter Cleo. My son Malachi was born while we were living there.

‘I had lived at home with my mum, … Read more