Grenfell: One year on
Grenfell: One year on

It’s been a year since 72 people tragically lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Since then, what progress has been made to support the survivors and make sure nothing like this ever happens again? I’m a Shelter housing advisor, and I’ve been working in the area since it happened – supporting many of those who were affected by the fire to find a new home.

Has everyone from the tower been rehoused?

Some 210 families who lived in … Read more

Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles
Government is leading by spending on cladding and banning combustibles

It has been a momentous week for everyone campaigning for improvements to building safety, following the Grenfell Tower fire.

By promising to ‘fully fund’ the removal and replacement of unsafe, Grenfell-style cladding – and suggesting it’s minded to ban combustible cladding systems – the government is set to fulfil two of our key campaigning asks. We look back at what exactly the government has committed to and why it’s so important.

Money to remove and replace cladding

Our campaign asked Read more

Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway
Pride versus stigma in social housing as the Big Conversation gets underway

This week, the commissioners who are leading Shelter’s Big Conversation into the future of social housing met for the second time. They reviewed the evidence that’s begun to come in– including interim findings from interviews with social tenants – and started to sketch out the direction their recommendations will take.

It was a wide-ranging discussion and we’re excited about the ambition of the commissioners. They met with survivors and bereaved people from Grenfell earlier this month, and the message they … Read more

Exception sites are a lifeline for communities in need of affordable homes
Exception sites are a lifeline for communities in need of affordable homes

Here at Shelter, we’re all for getting more affordable homes built. It’s the only long-term, permanent fix to our housing and homelessness crisis. But in recent years, it hasn’t always felt like the planning system is on our side. Rules like the viability loophole have made it harder to get the affordable homes communities really need coming through the planning system. But there is one great, unsung hero of the planning system that has been steadily chipping away at the … Read more

Shelter launches call for evidence on social housing
Shelter launches call for evidence on social housing

In early March, we saw the first meeting of the commissioners who will be steering our Big Conversation looking at the future of social housing.

We’ve promised the commissioners that we’ll keep the content of their meetings confidential, so that they have the space to debate and deliberate. But suffice to say we were really pleased with the enthusiasm in the room.

We’ve deliberately drawn our commissioners from a broad range of political persuasions and backgrounds, but they all stressed … Read more

Facing up to defeat: why was social housing an easy target?

Housing campaigners need to acknowledge the uncomfortable quandary about the passing of the Housing and Planning Act. As we pointed out last week, despite near unprecedented concern in the Lords, the government ultimately felt comfortable enough to stand firm with its vision for social housing. It is a notable show of resolve in a year that has seen U-turns on everything from tax credits through academies to the Human Rights Act.

I think an anecdote from the start of … Read more

Fixed term tenancies failing on everyone’s terms

The government’s plan to remove security from social tenants and restrict tenancies to 2-5 years will hopefully get the scrutiny it deserves this week. Peers are set to debate the controversial new clauses as the housing and planning bill winds its way through committee.

Shelter is concerned that constantly churning people through social housing will be hugely destabilising to families and communities. But new research also suggests that the reform will fail even on its own terms of ‘making best Read more

A tax on both your (privately rented) houses

Wednesday’s budget furrowed many a brow at Shelter. The Chancellor singled out housing support for substantial cuts. A lot of the people who come to Shelter for help are about to find themselves worse off – and our job just got tougher.

However, amidst this frustration there were some sensible tax reforms that deserve an honourable mention.

1. Raise the Roof

The Budget raised the tax-free threshold for the rent-a-room scheme.

This scheme was introduced in 1992 to offer … Read more

A rent cap in name only

This blog was originally published as part of #BeyondtheBallot the Huffington Post UK’s alternative take on the UK General Election 2015. Visit the website to see the original post and join the debate.

A year ago to the day, Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour Government will legislate to make long-term tenancies the legal default. After calling for stable renting since 2012, Shelter welcomed this turning point.

On Sunday, this was repackaged a ‘cap on rents’.

Cue hysteria. … Read more

Guest Blog- Kate Faulkner

Property expert Kate Faulkner has written this guest blog on the unsatisfactory state of today’s housing market. Like Shelter, Kate believes that it is time for politicians of all stripes to take bold action to deliver the new homes our country desperately needs, and to effectively regulate a private rented sector that is now home to 9 million people.

To solve the housing battle, we need the same determination our Veterans had

With the recent D-Day celebrations, I’m reminded of … Read more

Crisis in the Capital

In January, the Evening Standard reported a recent poll, carried out by Ipsos MORI for London Councils, which revealed that four in five Londoners (82 per cent) agree there is a “housing crisis in London”.

It is little wonder when you consider the state of our capital’s housing.

London is unaffordable

House prices in the capital are 18.1 per cent higher than their pre-recession peak in January 2008. The average home was valued at £441,000 in November 2013, Read more

The tenants’ trap

Following the actions of Fergus and Judith Wilson hundreds of private renters have been served legal eviction notices– simply for receiving some housing benefit. According to the most recent National Landlords Association survey just one in five landlords let to people on benefits.

Those in desperate need may turn to their council for homelessness assistance. All local authorities in England have a legal duty to assist people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness. As the loss of Read more