Self-isolation? Try it as a homeless family living in one room
Self-isolation? Try it as a homeless family living in one room

Ministers must go further to help homeless families during this health crisis.

With the COVID-19 pandemic now taking hold in England, schools are now closed, and people being advised to work from home, many of us are wondering how we’ll cope with weeks of self-isolation and social distancing. 

Experts are providing tips on how to deal with feeling like the walls are closing in. But in all the chaos, spare a thought for the homeless families living in cramped temporary accommodation, often for months on end, while they wait to be given a permanent home. 

For some, this can mean a … Read more

A foundation to build on
A foundation to build on

Angela and her son, Kardinell were good tenants, but their lives were upended and Kardinell’s education was disrupted when they were made homeless after being evicted from their private rented home. ‘I felt like I’d let my child down,’ Angela said. ‘How do you explain to a child who’s gone to school in the morning that they’ve got nowhere to live when they come home?’

Angela and Kardinell aren’t the only ones to have had their lives put on hold … Read more

Budget 2020: What are the Chancellor's plans to end homelessness?
Budget 2020: What are the Chancellor's plans to end homelessness?

A week might be a long time in politics, but 18 months is a lot longer. And that’s how long we’ve had to wait for a budget – our last having been delivered two chancellors ago back in November 2018. What has stayed stubbornly and heartbreakingly true throughout this period in England is that we have been continually stuck in a national housing emergency.

This emergency is now impacting the lives of millions of people living in every region of … Read more

The government's new rough sleeping figures only give one part of the picture – these are the numbers you need to know
The government's new rough sleeping figures only give one part of the picture – these are the numbers you need to know

4,266 people – nine per cent fewer than last year – slept rough on a given night. But the methodology is tricky.

At the start of this week, there was a truly upsetting report looking at the deaths of homeless people sleeping in bins. It was one of those viscerally awful stories that surely means you can’t ignore the human cost of the housing emergency.

This horror story was followed by new BBC research on Wednesday looking at the number … Read more

A Capital in Crisis: what has caused London’s housing emergency?
A Capital in Crisis: what has caused London’s housing emergency?

In May, Londoners will head to the ballot box to elect their next mayor. London is at the centre of this country’s housing emergency and the mayor has direct powers as well as influence to achieve much needed change. Ahead of the election, Shelter will be publishing a series of blogs on London’s deepening housing emergency and the actions that the next mayor, London councils, and national government can take to fix it.

This blog focuses on the problems London Read more

Unscrupulous firms are cashing in on the housing emergency
Unscrupulous firms are cashing in on the housing emergency

Homelessness is big business. I do not mean for the homeless families forced to live in squalid ‘temporary accommodation’, you understand. But plenty of people are queueing up to make money from it, and the opportunities to cash in are there.

Last night’s Panorama on the BBC shone a light on a murky world. More than 86,000 households in England are living in temporary accommodation – a population the size of York. And it is costing councils over a billion pounds.

How … Read more

Late homeless appeals and legal aid cuts – key guidance from the Court of Appeal
Late homeless appeals and legal aid cuts – key guidance from the Court of Appeal

Today, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment on homelessness, in which Shelter intervened. It hammers a welcome stake in the ground regarding access to justice for people struggling with homelessness, highlighting the importance of legal aid in ensuring that people can appeal decisions under the Homelessness Reduction Act about whether they will be housed.

In Al Ahmed v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2020] EWCA Civ 51, Mr Al Ahmed suffered from a number of medical conditions … Read more

Will this be the government to end homelessness?
Will this be the government to end homelessness?

Things are clear. The Conservatives have won a governing majority on a scale not seen since 2005, itself the largest Conservative majority since 1987. This means that the government will be confident of its ability to pass legislation without the confrontation or negotiation with parliament that has become almost normal in recent years.

What the prime minister chooses to do with that majority will be telling. From what we’ve seen so far, things are going to be interesting. The Queen’s … Read more

What we learnt from the National Housing Hustings 2019
What we learnt from the National Housing Hustings 2019

On December 12 the United Kingdom is set to go to the polls in a general election for the third time in four years. Right now there are millions of families trapped in insecure private rentals, 1.1 million households on council waiting lists, and, terribly, 135,000 children who will be homeless on Christmas Day. Whoever is in Number 10 after polling day, solving the national housing emergency will need to be a top priority.

Our chief executive, Polly, has written … Read more

A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes – this is a national emergency
A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes – this is a national emergency

My childhood made me who I am. I was incredibly lucky then and, no surprise, I’m incredibly lucky now. And perhaps at Christmas I was luckiest of all. In our house, where we had enough space, security, safety, and comfort, there were always presents, a big tree, a delicious dinner.

In my job, I so often reflect on my own good fortune, because our frontline services at Shelter are almost overwhelmed with the suffering, fear, chaos, and trauma that homelessness … Read more

Rising homelessness and struggling families: something has got to give
Rising homelessness and struggling families: something has got to give

In our last post, the challenges that private renters in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) face in finding an affordable and decent home were laid out. This inability to access housing they can afford means that many people are forced to accept large shortfalls between their LHA and their rent in order to find a home.

Our research has found that nearly 42% of non-working LHA households face a monthly shortfall of over £100. This is a significant … Read more

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