About Shelter

We’ve been around since 1966, when the Reverend Bruce Kenrick started Shelter in response to the massive housing crisis and inner-city slums of the 1960s. He and co-founder Des Wilson were outraged at the shocking conditions many families had to call home, and joined forces to create Shelter. Their vision was to create a national body that would speak out for the hidden homeless, and unite the work of different housing charities.

Around the same time, the BBC showed Ken Loach’s film Cathy Come Home, telling the story of a young family as their worsening housing conditions tore them apart. More than 12 million people watched it and were horrified. So when Shelter launched a few days later, we had a powerful platform of support – and we could tell a story that still needs to be told today.

Nearly five decades of constant lobbying have pressured governments into making some key changes to the law, and we’ve celebrated some landmark achievements in recent years – like the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in England, or the ground-breaking commitment in Scotland that, from 2012, everyone will have the right to a home.

We’ve achieved a lot along the way, but the housing crisis isn’t over. That’s why we’ll keep fighting until there’s a home for everyone.

Our founders

In response to the appalling housing conditions in his West London parish, Reverend Bruce Kenrick set up the Notting Hill Housing Trust in 1963 to provide decent, affordable houses to rent in the area. It was his work with the Trust that made him a driving force in setting up Shelter three years later. He was joined by Des Wilson, who led us for our first five years, and whose vision set out Shelter’s first campaign plan.