Over the world from town to town,
Making their life’s better for sure,
Ending this misery upon the ground.
Letting them see what life is about,
Enhancing their bodies and their souls,
Securing a future for them at last,
So they can go and achieve their goals.
Never let them feel ashamed,
Encouraging them to do their best.
See their problems in your mind,
So they feel wanted nevertheless.
By Dr. Geebers.
Tackling homelessness is not just about getting people off the streets. It's also about finding lasting solutions to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place.
Preventing homelessness is central to Shelter’s work. Alongside our support services for those in housing need, we campaign for legal and policy solutions to ensure people's homes are protected.
What is homelessness?Homelessness is the most extreme form of housing need. But it isn’t just about people sleeping on the streets. There are many more people in England who do not have a home despite not actually sleeping rough. Some have to put up with living in temporary accommodation where they have an uncertain future. Unable to afford alternative options, others have to endure overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. Having a home is about more than just having a roof over your head.
The problem of homelessnessHomelessness is not just a housing problem. Not having a decent home adversely affects all areas of your life - from your health, to your achievement at school if you are a child, and your ability to get work if you are an adult. Conversely, if you are struggling with your health or your employment, this may in turn affect your housing needs and the security of your home.
People end up homeless for a wide variety of reasons:
- When relationships break down, often one person is forced to move out without anywhere to go.
- Private tenancies frequently last only for six months or a year, and when they come to an end people may face homelessness due to a lack of other affordable options.
- When faced with an abusive home life, many children decide to run away.
Every homeless person’s situation is unique and complex. But Shelter believes that one of the main underlying causes of homelessness in England is a lack of affordable housing.
How to prevent homelessnessSince 2002, the Government has made homelessness prevention a priority, providing funding to improve homelessness services and requiring local councils to develop proactive strategies to prevent homelessness in their area.
Shelter believes that the current homelessness prevention approach can be improved in a number of ways. For example, we believe that every local authority should have a tenancy sustainment service to help vulnerable people to remain in their homes. We also believe homelessness for many people could be avoided through making the housing benefit system work better.
Ultimately, however, Shelter believes the solution to homelessness in England is to build more affordable housing.
The provision of housing needs to be increased throughout the social housing sector, the private rented sector and in the privately owned sector. Alongside this, the Government should look to build neighbourhoods where people can thrive.
Shelter's campaign demandsShelter would like to see the Government's homelessness prevention strategy refocused to do more at an earlier stage to help people who are in danger of becoming homeless to keep their home, and to ensure that people who are homeless are offered secure housing they can afford.
Shelter calls on the Government and local councils to:
- improve access to tenancy sustainment services to ensure that vulnerable people have the support they need to remain successfully in their homes
- reform the housing benefit system to make it simpler and easy to access for those in housing need.