How we work

Our 2019-2022 strategy was designed to be a turning point – an ambitious and fearless response to the national housing emergency. The strategy has four goals:


In the last two decades, the number of households renting privately has doubled. Since 2011, rents have risen by 16%, while wages have gone up just 10%. Private renters have the highest average weekly housing costs while having to put up with poor quality housing. Our job is to stand up for private renters. We’ll campaign for improvements in conditions and consumer protection, and we’ll continue to use the law to fight discrimination against those on benefits.

We’re determined to provide a service which gives the best advice to all who need it. But too often, increasing need makes it difficult for us to meet demand. For that reason, we’ll enhance our digital advice to cater to everyone, while ensuring anyone needing emergency help can always speak to one of our helpline advisers. And we’ll develop services in our local hubs in partnership with communities, developing a local vision for each.

Levels of public housebuilding have plummeted dramatically, leading to a sharp increase in families stuck in expensive, poor quality, insecure privately rented homes. Right now, 1.1 million people in England and 137,000 people in Scotland are on the waiting list for social housing. Just over 6,500 social homes were built in 2019/20, but that can be contrasted with 24,120 sales of formerly social rented homes, and the demolition of 4,676. We urgently need long-term, large-scale action to address this issue. Within 10 years, we want everyone who needs social housing to get it.

Shelter was founded as a community movement over 50 years ago. Today, our future lies in enabling and leading change at a community level, as well as for individuals and nationally. With this in mind, we’re aiming to recruit 500,000 supporters on the ground and in the heart of our communities who’ll help us defend the right to a safe home. We’ll harness the power for change found in our services, shops, campaigners, donors, and partners, and use it to empower and amplify the voice of anyone who wants to work alongside us. The national emergency will not be stopped by anything less than a national movement.


Watch our strategy video

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© 2021 Shelter, the National Campaign for Homeless People Limited Charity number: 263710 (England and Wales), SC002327 (Scotland). Company number: 1‌038133 88 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HU Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority