We need to talk about… The rise in rough sleeping

On a recent visit to a housing project in Glasgow the new government minister with responsibility for homelessness, Heather Wheeler, admitted that she “didn’t know” the reasons for the rise in rough sleeping that has occurred in each of the last seven years. In a spirit of helpfulness, it seems only fair that I enlighten…



We need to talk about… Cyrille Regis

There have been many things written and said about Cyrille Regis since his untimely death was announced on Monday, but one comment stuck with me. It came from local MEP Siôn Simon who said “Lots of footballers are good, but very few are important. Cyrille Regis was both.” It struck a chord with me because…



Budget response

Today the chancellor has announced that £44bn will be used to build 300,000 new homes every year by the mid-2020s. As someone who has worked in the field of housing and homelessness for twenty-five years I welcome this commitment. There is no doubt that the government’s own figures show that homelessness and rough sleeping have…



We need to talk about… Supported housing funding

Imagine if your employer told you that, following a review, they were going to make your terms and conditions of employment discretionary. Of course, they’d reassure you, we intend ring fence a pot of money exclusively for staff salaries – but they couldn’t give you any guarantees as to whether it would increase in future….



The supported housing sector deserves better

When Theresa May announced that the policy of capping housing benefit payments to LHA rates for supported housing was being abandoned, everyone assumed that the disaster facing the sector had been averted. Mrs May indicated that she wanted a new policy, one that would give supported housing providers the financial security they needed. It was…



The future of supported housing? It’s déjà vu all over again

There is a saying that you if you stay working at one place for long enough then sooner or later all the old systems that were swept away for being old-fashioned and inefficient will eventually be reintroduced as cutting-edge and ‘the way of the future’. Well I’ve been working in supported housing for twenty-five years…



We need to talk about… Mental health

Today (October 10th) is World Mental Health Day. It also marks the launch of a national and international YMCA campaign to help end the stigma around young people’s mental health – #IAMWHOLE. #IAMWHOLE 2017 is being fronted by rock band, Nothing But Thieves – who have recorded an exclusive version of the title track from…



We need to talk about… Housing benefit stigma

Do you rent your home from a private landlord? Plenty of people do: 4.5m households, in fact. Indeed between 2002 and 2016, the private rented sector doubled in size – from 10% of households, to 20%[i]. In contrast, the social rented sector has nearly halved over the same period , from 31% in 2002, to…