Does private renting offer stability for homeless families?

As Research Manager for the Sustain study – a project exploring the use of the private rented sector to accommodate homeless people and those in housing need – I’ve found myself reflecting on how rare it is to see a large scale, explorative research project addressing a pressing social policy issue.

Sadly research budgets have been cut back across both government and charitable sectors at a time when evidence on the impact of huge policy changes is badly needed.

Sustain … Read more

Some reason to celebrate

Among a number of pre-Jubilee announcements made yesterday, the Government quietly published the long-awaited draft regulations on the suitability of private rented accommodation offered to homeless people.

The Localism Act 2011 will soon allow councils to offer a twelve month private letting to homeless households in order to discharge their duty to provide a settled home. During the passage of the bill, parliamentarians and organisations like Shelter and Crisis argued that, given the poor quality of much private rented housing … Read more

Telephone gateway – or barrier?

A fortnight ago the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act received Royal Assent. It’s just 18 months since the legal aid reforms were first put forward by the Ministry of Justice. Since then, the Government has succeeded in making dramatic changes to the legal aid system.

Not only has the scope of legal aid been cut but the way it’s delivered will now change.

Those in need of legal advice, but unable to pay for it, will no … Read more

The mortgage headache continues

Today’s arrears and repossessions figures confirm that we’re in our fourth consecutive year of high levels of home repossessions. It’s a worrying sign of how difficult economic conditions are – and of just how precarious so many people’s finances are. Sadly, thousands of people losing their homes is only part of the story. There are more than 150,000 households in serious arrears, i.e. more than three months behind on their mortgage payments.

The overall number of people in serious arrears … Read more

Exporting homelessness

This morning was one of those moments when policy wonks start jumping up and down and shouting at the radio. This tends to happen when an issue we’ve been trying desperately to get some publicity for suddenly hits the news – usually because the bad thing we’ve been warning would happen, has happened.

It’s very frustrating to be told that a story is not news until the disaster has actually occurred. Astronomers take note – the media won’t be interested … Read more

Homelessness rise - shocking or predictable?

Yesterday’s homelessness statistics have confirmed what Shelter’s advisers have reported – more and more people are approaching their council for assistance because they can’t find anywhere affordable to live. Nationwide, the number of households accepted as entitled to assistance increased by 18 per cent last quarter compared to the same time the previous year. London has seen the sharpest increase in homelessness: a 36 per cent rise. But as this handy Guardian map shows it isn’t the only homelessness … Read more