Task 4 - Client factfile

Name: Rebecca Coughlin * Social Action Research

Transcript of Task 4 - Client factfile

Page 1: Task 4 - Client factfile

Name: Rebecca Coughlin

*Social Action Research

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The client: Shelter

Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. And they campaign to make sure that one day, no one will have to turn to them for help.

Shelter is a registered charity which campaigns to end homelessness all together in England and Scotland. The charity gives advice, information and advocacy to people who need their help. They want to improve the lives of homeless people so they work in partnership with Shelter Cymru in Wales and the Housing Rights Service in Northern Ireland. Approximately two thirds of Shelter's expenditure goes on housing aid and one third on campaigns and education.

The charity first started in 1966 due to 3 million people living in slums due to the housing crisis. They raised money for these people to re-home them and stand up against the government. They’ve just reached their 50th year as a charity, but there is still homeless people to help.

To make a bigger change and to get more funding, the charity shared hundreds of stories of homeless people and families struggling to get by and living in horrible conditions as well as children suffering life-changing injuries playing on slum clearance sites. The public became outraged that these conditions existed in modern Britain which meant the charity was heard and got more funding.

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The issues: Funding, the government, local authorities and the public.

What issues does your client campaign on?

Shelter campaigns to help people in the housing crisis as well as help to re-home people. In 2014–15, they helped 68,946 people through their face-to-face advice and support services. Over 3,000 people called the helpline on average each week, with one in six calls funded by M&S. And more than 300,000 people visit the advice pages of the Shelter website every month.

Shelter wants to raise money for underfunded housing associations so that they could re-house families in need. They also want to raise public awareness of homelessness and people’s appalling housing conditions.

What are some of the impacts that they have managed to achieve?

In 1980, Shelter helped convince the government to give social housing tenants the same security of tenure as private renters, this provided protection for families facing eviction at short notice.

Shelter’s Housing Aid Centers had also been advising people on housing law for some time, but in 1993 they set up an in-house legal arm. This meant that they employed top housing lawyers to fight directly on behalf of the people they were trying to help.

Then in 1977, the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act was passed thanks to Shelter. The act ruled that local authorities have a legal duty to house homeless people. This had a very positive effect for the homeless people in Britain and it made the law recognise the ‘hidden homeless’- people living on friends’ floors, in squats or unsafe conditions.

These were all key points on which Shelter had been campaigning and lobbying since 1966. Their contribution to achieving the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act remains one of their greatest achievements.

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The issues:

What are they still hoping to achieve?

Shelter was founded on a will to address a deep injustice in society, and the passion that drove their founders is as strong today as it was then. Sadly, they ‘still have cause to feel the same horror we felt then’.

Shelter enters their 50th year, yet there are still 100,000 homeless children. So although they have many achievements over the years, there is till a lot that they can still do and they will not stop campaigning until ‘everyone has a home, our services will continue to be there 365 days a year to help anyone who needs us. This could be through our hands-on support work, our integrated service hubs or our helpline and website’.

Although they are not always successful; failing for too long to get the need for more homes back on the agenda or also weren’t able to convince governments to replace homes sold under Right to Buy, and many people’s homes today aren’t as secure as they once were. Shelter has achieved a lot and are still as determined as ever to help people who won’t be helped.

They want to get as many people off the streets as they can and help every family that has housing difficulty.

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Facts and figures:

Shelter’s services rely on the support of other organisations who fund them, like the Big Lottery and Shelter’s partners including Vodafone, Nationwide, BT, British Gas, M&S, L&G and CBRE.


68,946 people received help through Shelter’s face-to-face advice and support services.

4,410,442 people accessed the ‘Get advice’ pages of the Shelter website.

53,480 families in England living in temporary accommodation. This is a rise of 42% in five years and 17% in the past year alone. Among those families, there are 103,430 children.

103,430 children are homeless.

44% of households living in temporary accommodation are singles mothers.

3,000 families are living in B&Bs which is a rise of 488% since 2009.