Land reform: the key to ambitious social housing
Land reform: the key to ambitious social housing

The next Prime Minister must put social housing at the heart of their solution to our housing emergency. The scale of the crisis demands serious ambition to build enough social homes for all who need them. But it’s not just a numbers game. As Shelter’s new Grounds for Change essay collection argues, alongside investment the government must learn from history and take action to reform our broken land laws. Only then will we build the high-quality, well-designed, genuinely affordable homes … Read more

Two years on from the fire: coming together to stand in solidarity with Grenfell’s community
Two years on from the fire: coming together to stand in solidarity with Grenfell’s community

On Friday 14 June, Britain will pause at 11am to hold a minute’s silence in remembrance of the 72 lives lost during the Grenfell Tower fire on this day two years ago.

During this moment of reflection, I hope you’ll be joining me and hundreds of thousands of people from across the country as we take time to pause and remember the community affected by the fire. 

But this also serves to remind ourselves that there’s still important work to be done. 

Like many other organisations, we’ve been … Read more

A recipe for social housebuilding
A recipe for social housebuilding

With more than 270,000 people currently experiencing homelessness in England, we’re undoubtedly seeing the impact of 40 years of failure in housing policy. At the same time, house prices are far out of reach, leaving many young families trapped in expensive and insecure private rentals.

This is why, throughout 2018, Shelter led a Big Conversation to investigate what’s going wrong. We sought the views of the public, experts and social and private renters. Their input was analysed by an independent … 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

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