Ten national housing and support organisations have joined forces to propose a funding solution which aims to safeguard homelessness and housing-related support services for over 60,000 of the most vulnerable people in Wales.
The Housing Matters report outlines the case for a new Homelessness and Housing-Related Support Grant, which has been backed by Welsh Women’s Aid, Cymorth Cymru, Community Housing Cymru, Rough Sleepers Cymru, Shelter Cymru, Tai Pawb, EROSH South Wales, CIH Cymru, Housing Justice Cymru and the founding members of End Youth Homelessness Cymru.
Housing Matters is being published after several stakeholders, including Welsh Women’s Aid, raised concerns about the Welsh Government’s proposal to create a new Early Intervention: Prevention and Support Grant in 2019/20, which would merge two homelessness grants (Supporting People and the Homelessness Prevention Grant) with funding for non-housing services such as childcare and health visitors.
At a time when pressure on specialist services is increasing, we expressed concerns that a merged grant would dilute the focus on violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence support and could increase the risk of cuts to services as the funding ring-fence would be removed from the Supporting People Programme. These concerns were reflected in the ELGC Committee’s report and in a subsequent report by the Public Accounts Committee, which urged Welsh Government officials to consider the alternative solution outlined in the report.
This alternative would help the Welsh Government to meet its aims of reducing the number of grants it manages by merging four housing grants into one – Supporting People; funding that will be devolved for housing costs in short-term supported accommodation; the Homelessness Prevention Grant; and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement. However, this solution also retains a clear focus on housing and helps to safeguard the future of these vital services.
In the report, the ten organisations have said:
“Over the next few months Welsh Government Ministers will be making a crucial decision about the future funding of homelessness and housing-related support services in Wales.
“We are a coalition of national organisations which are committed to ending homelessness and ensuring that people can live safely and independently in their own homes. Over the past few months we have been discussing the Welsh Government’s plans and considering the opportunities and threats to the provision of sustainable services and the lives of the people we represent.
“We recognise the pressures on the Welsh Government and the challenges that Ministers are facing. In light of this, we are not simply defending the status quo. We have challenged our members and each other to develop a constructive solution which helps to meet Ministers’ aims – but will also safeguard the future of homelessness and housing-related support services in Wales. We also believe that our proposal can facilitate a more strategic approach to ending homelessness and supporting people to live independent, fulfilled lives.
“Tackling homelessness shouldn’t be party political, which is why we are asking Ministers and Assembly Members across all political parties to support our proposed Homelessness and Housing Related Support Grant.”