People on housing benefit are sick with worry – £10 a month is not going to change that
People on housing benefit are sick with worry – £10 a month is not going to change that

The freeze on housing benefit has been an unmitigated disaster. Private rents have risen while benefit rates stayed stuck, and people across the country are struggling to bridge the gap, leading to homelessness, debt, and poverty for many.

For years there has been every sign that politicians are happy to turn the other cheek while people on housing benefit are stressed, anxious, and sick with worry.

New research by Shelter shows the truly devastating impact the freeze is having on … Read more

Government's plan to raise LHA in line with inflation is nowhere near good enough
Government's plan to raise LHA in line with inflation is nowhere near good enough

Yesterday, the government announced how much housing benefits for private renters will be increased once the current benefits freeze finally ends. The news is not good.

In April 2020, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – the housing benefit people receive for their private rental costs – will be raised in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which currently stands at a pitiful 1.7%. While any rise in benefit level is welcome, it is completely unacceptable to raise the LHA rates … Read more

Managing money: the importance of autonomy
Managing money: the importance of autonomy

From time to time, we all get into difficulty managing our money. A boiler breaking, a car needing repair, a bigger heating bill than expected. These things can hit us hard and always seem to be poorly timed, particularly if money is already tight. We all have different methods of coping, and different ways of ensuring we keep on top of all the other bills and rent. Some people try to manage by taking the hit in one go; whereas … Read more

General election 2019: A key moment to invest in local housing allowance
General election 2019: A key moment to invest in local housing allowance

For a long time, we’ve made a very clear argument that housing benefit for private renters, or local housing allowance (LHA), needs to be lifted up so that it covers the cost of renting.

LHA is now so far below the cost of renting in almost all areas of England that people are having to make impossible decisions about whether they cut back on food for their families or on heating their homes during winter.

This is why it’s incredibly … 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

The Supreme Court considers intentional homelessness
The Supreme Court considers intentional homelessness

Last week, we intervened in a key case concerning homelessness, where a family who were evicted because of a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) shortfall took their challenge to the Supreme Court. (Samuels v Birmingham City Council UKSC 2017/0172). LHA is the housing benefit provided to those renting in the private sector. But, as a result of housing benefit policy and rapidly rising rents, the benefit provided increasingly does not cover the rents people have to pay.

Issues in the caseRead 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

On International Women’s Day, we mustn't ignore homeless women
On International Women’s Day, we mustn't ignore homeless women

International Women’s Day is a day to remember how badly women are being affected by our housing crisis.

While most people, when thinking about homelessness, might think of street homeless men, it’s important that we’re fully aware of the facts.

Women sleeping on the streets

It’s true that the majority of people captured by homeless street counts are men. Government data shows that only 14% of people sleeping on our streets on a given night are women.

But the women … Read more

How you made a difference; The 2017 Autumn Budget

Did it live up to its hype as “the housing budget”? Shelter is certainly pleased to see a number of positive commitments put forth to address the housing crisis and ensure more people can have access to a safe, secure and affordable home.

Our primary ask going into the Autumn Budget was for the government to lift the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – a type of housing benefit people receive to cover their rent in the private rented … Read more

On Universal Credit, the government is ignoring the elephant in the room

As Philip Hammond prepares for this week’s Budget, it looks increasingly likely that he will concede on making some changes to Universal Credit (UC). Faced with opposition from his own backbenchers, who have challenged him with distressing tales from their constituencies, Mr Hammond may opt to reduce the six week waiting time for the benefit.

If so, it will be welcome. We have been calling for changes for long enough. Our frontline workers are seeing families reduced to destitution because … Read more

Kettle packs and extreme overcrowding: the realities of temporary accommodation

Having to feed your family while trapped in just one room, with nothing other than a kettle, isn’t something you’d expect to hear about in Britain in 2017.

But this sadly, was the reality for residents living in Buckinghamshire, where an explosion in the number of homeless families meant the council was forced to house those people in temporary accommodation (TA). Local foodbanks responded by putting together ‘kettle packs’, because all that was in the rooms to cook with were … Read more

Fair rent homes? Our long-term mission to transform renting

As you know, we’re currently campaigning hard to lift the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a type of housing benefit given to 1.2m private tenants who need help paying their rent. But since the government froze LHA in 2015, rents have risen and people are being forced into homelessness as the burden of their rent becomes too much.

If we don’t act now, one million households could be at risk of homelessness by 2020.… Read more