Shelter campaign reveals cost-of-living crisis housing risk


UK charity Shelter has launched a new campaign to highlight how the unaffordable cost of housing is putting people at risk of homelessness.

The campaign contrasts tongue-in-cheek cost-of-living hacks with an alternative solution: that the government takes responsibility for the crisis and makes housing more affordable.

Shelter cost-of-living campaign

The strategy behind the national campaign was developed internally after Shelter research found that almost 1.1 million private renters in England – one in seven – had their rent increased in the last month, as well as receiving an influx of calls to its emergency helpline from people struggling to keep a roof over their heads as rents and other bills skyrocket.

The creative, designed by Shelter’s in-house creative team, uses hacks illustrated by Federica Martini. 

These show unhelpful tips often given by the media and politicians, like; ‘Just work more hours!’ or ‘Cancel your Netflix account.’, which contrast with the only solution: that the government could act and make housing more affordable.

Supported with media planning from Yonder Media, the campaign has been live since 26 September across England and is designed to resonate with a progressive, politically engaged audience to mobilise support for Shelter’s mission to end the housing emergency.

The campaign will be live across outdoor, social media, contextual posts on sites such as Reddit, as well as an editorial partnership with Vice. 

It will also include the use of beermats in pubs designed to prompt conversation, a special mural in

Shoreditch being unveiled over several days, and tailored creative outside the Conservative Party Conference.

In the project’s early stages, Shelter worked with Gen Z research platform Imagen Insights to get feedback from people living with unaffordable rents. 

With the panel praising the sarcasm, clear solution, and how representative it felt – one participant said, “it hit so close to home I felt like crying”.

Osama Bhutta, Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns at Shelter, said: “Every day we’re being bombarded in the news by cost of living hacks. 

“But whatever the latest hack is, it’s just a sticking plaster that can’t possibly cure runaway rents that are pushing people into homelessness.

“Every day our frontline services are supporting people who have nothing left to cut back on. 

“And the reality is that thousands of families won’t be able to keep a roof over their head this winter because they can’t afford to heat their home or pay their rent.

“Our campaign shows how these cost of living hacks are negligible in the face of the scale of the housing emergency. 

“By making our audience look twice, we hope to raise awareness of the reality for struggling renters and show that it’s time the government takes action to make housing genuinely affordable.”