How we make a difference

Different sectors of Shelter work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for people in housing need. Here’s how it works:

How Shelter works


identify a problem and pass on evidence to the Policy and Research team.

Policy and Research

build a picture of situation nationally and recommend new laws and policies to solve the problem.

The Campaigns team

mobilise support for our recommendations among supporters, MPs and the general public.


Meanwhile, Services find practical ways to cope with the problem in the short term.

Legislative change

Under pressure from Shelter’s campaigning and lobbying efforts, the Government announces change.

The solution

A better situation for people in housing need.

A real life example – The problem: Rent deposits unfairly withheld

Shelter collects evidence that many people who rent their homes privately are having deposit money withheld unfairly. This suggests there is an urgent need for legislation.

Policy & Research

The Government publishes a tenancy deposit consultation paper and an evaluation of its pilot deposit protection scheme (2002). Based on these, Shelter’s policy unit recommends:

  • introducing a national scheme to collect and hold deposit money
  • independent adjudication for all disputes over return of deposits
  • inventories for all furnished and semi-furnished lets.


Shelter urges its campaigners to show support for Shelter’s recommendations and get them made law in the Housing Bill (2004).

Services: the housing advice centre

In Stratford, north-east London, Shelter caseworkers notice huge numbers of private tenants from Eastern Europe having their tenancy deposits withheld unfairly by unscrupulous landlords.

Services: the specialist project

In response, Shelter sets up the East London Multilingual Private Tenancy Advice Project, to offer housing support and financial advice to this vulnerable community.

Legislative change

March 2007. Government announces that Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes will come into force from 6 April.

The solution

Shelter research, policy recommendations, and campaign efforts all played a crucial role in persuading the Government to introduce these groundbreaking schemes, which will have immediate benefits for people who rent their homes.

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