Our lack of social housing is failing those in desperate need
Our lack of social housing is failing those in desperate need

At Shelter, we see many people who’ve had bad experiences renting privately, but Tom’s experiences are exceptionally bad. First, his landlord blocked off access to the boiler and left the thermostat set so low that the heating wouldn’t come on unless it was freezing cold. Then he started coming to the property on a daily basis, going into his tenants’ rooms without their permission.

Things got worse when there was a gas leak in the property. When Tom informed his … 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

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

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

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

'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

A two-pronged plan for better social housing
A two-pronged plan for better social housing

Guest blog by Rob Gershon, Housing Quality Network’s Residents’ Lead Associate

It might sound odd to say, but the Shelter commission was not a typical housing commission. It was made up of a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and perspectives, including politicians, tenants, community group activists (like me), but none from the traditional housing world.

The long and the short of the homebuilding bit of the report is that the commission agreed we needed more homes, … Read more

The future of social housing – what’s next?
The future of social housing – what’s next?

Last week we launched the final report of our commission on the future of social housing. I joined Shelter midway through the project. I was amazed to see the huge ambition and hard work our 16 independent commissioners and the team here put into it.

It’s also been great to see a sector work together so well. There has been a growing push for more social housing recently, from charities, the public, and industry bodies.

But we … Read more

Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights
Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights

New analysis sheds light on the impact of a social housing get out clause in England. Our research estimates that urban authorities have missed out on over 10,000 affordable homes between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

In 2018, Theresa May promised a ‘new generation of council homes to help fix our broken housing market’. We welcome this, and the announcement of an additional £2 billion for housing associations to help deliver on it. With just under 6,500 socially rented houses delivered in … Read more

No more social housing get-out clauses
No more social housing get-out clauses

As the Autumn budget announcements were only beginning to be digested a few weeks ago, the government released a consultation that contained substantial and largely troubling proposals for the future supply of social housing.

The consultation proposes a range of ideas to reform planning rules, including a welcome proposal to give councils more freedom over how they use their own land. This would allow councils to hold onto their land and use it to build desperately-needed social homes, where the … Read more

The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?
The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?

Last year, Theresa May used her speech at Conservative Party Conference to announce £2bn of new grant funding – the first money made available for building social homes since 2010.

Two weeks ago, the prime minister used a speech at the National Housing Federation’s annual summit to announce another £2bn of long-term funding for housing associations. At the time, we asked ‘Is Theresa May getting serious about social housing?’, taking stock of the many small actions May’s governments … Read more

Is the tide turning for social housing?
Is the tide turning for social housing?

Theresa May has often said fixing the housing crisis is her top domestic priority – no small feat for a government also tasked with delivering Brexit on a razor-thin majority. Some governments might have been tempted to leave housing in the ‘too difficult’ box, where it has been gathering dust for years.

But while we have yet to see the fundamental reforms and significant uptick in investment needed to get the country building genuinely affordable homes at scale again, May’s … Read more