The last issue of Shelter’s excellent Roof magazine has landed on my desk today. It’s been a mainstay of my preoccupation with housing issues for the past 20 years, and it would be wrong to let its passing go without a short note. The last issue is a fitting tribute, reminding us of the magazine’s success in getting housing issues onto the agenda and its dogged pursuit of those issues (remember Nigel Pollitt’s breaking of the Westminster “homes for votes” scandal, Janet Ford’s highlighting of the arrears crisis in 1991, as well as articles from before my time (ie the 1970s) about housing need?). There are some fantastic reflections on the past and the future in this final issue (Malpass on the right to buy, McDermont on the inexorable rise of housing associations, Widdowson’s reflections on the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977, asking whether homelessness is reducing or being redefined [obvious answer, but let’s not go there]). Then, there are the front covers – for example, Portillo in 1992, Schwarzenegger-like with gun in hand and, under the heading “Total Recall”, the byline: “He gave them his money. Now he wants it back”, which has a certain modern currency.
So, farewell, then, Roof, and thanks.