Welsh Women’s Aid is joining Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru to urge the Welsh Government to fund homelessness and housing services that have reached ‘tipping point’.
A new report released today reveals funding for vital Welsh services including homeless hostels and refuges were cut by £37million* between 2012 and 2018.
‘Housing Matters’ shines a light on the impact the cuts have had on local authorities, the third sector and social landlords, prompting concerns that crucial homelessness prevention and housing services have now reached a ‘tipping point’.
Ahead of the Welsh Government’s draft budget announcement, Cymorth Cymru, Community Housing Cymru and Welsh Women’s Aid say funding must be increased for the Housing Support Grant, which delivers homelessness prevention and housing-related support services in Wales.
The Housing Support Grant is the Welsh Government’s principal funding stream for preventing homelessness and supporting people to live independently. Every year it funds services that help more than 60,000 people to avoid homelessness, escape abuse, live in their own homes and thrive in their communities.
With UK political party’s general election spending promises likely to result in an increased funding pot for Wales, there are now strong calls for some of this to be directed at services that are a lifeline for thousands of Welsh people.
Eleri Butler, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid said:
“This grant provides our members with critical funds to provide lifesaving and lifechanging support for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, but we are now seeing significant increases in referrals to specialist support in many areas, without accompanying increases in funding. So it’s not surprise that our national data shows survivors of abuse being held on waiting lists or increasing numbers turned away from refuge when they need help, due to lack of resources and capacity.
Although Welsh Government committed to deliver secure, sustainable funding for specialist services in its 2016 National Strategy, we’ve yet to see this become reality. Domestic abuse alone costs public services and communities £66 billion a year in England and Wales, so it’s not unreasonable that we invest a sufficient portion of this cost to save lives, to build the capacity of specialist services, and deliver a national commitment that no one is turned away from specialist support in Wales when they need it most.”
Katie Dalton, Director of Cymorth Cymru said:
“The Housing Support Grant funds transformative services that prevent homelessness and support people to thrive in their homes and communities. Our members have worked extremely hard to deliver high quality, person-centred services, despite having to cut costs as budgets have declined. However, we fear that services have now reached a tipping point and believe that additional investment is critical to ensure that people experiencing or at risk of homelessness can get the support they need.
“We welcome the Welsh Government’s recent commitments to reducing homelessness and hope that this results in additional investment to bolster support services and expand internationally acclaimed models such as ‘Housing First’.”
Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said:
“Housing associations in Wales provide over half of the supported accommodation needed to help people out of homelessness. Last year, the Housing Support Grant enabled us to deliver vital services across Wales to support people to manage their tenancies and prevent homelessness. As well as these services, we are working to ensure that no one becomes homeless as a result of leaving social housing.
“To support our work, we are calling on Welsh Government to invest in the Housing Support Grant, so that we can continue delivering the scale and quality of services needed to end homelessness.”
A copy of the report is available here.
To download the campaigns pack please click here.
Notes for editor:
- Cuts to services were £15million between 2012 and 2018, taking inflation into consideration brings that figure to £37million in real terms.
- The full report is attached, which details the reduction since 2012 and the cost of implementing key Welsh Government priorities.
The Housing Support Grant (HSG) was created in April 2019 following the merger of Supporting People, Homelessness Prevention Grant and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement funding streams. It funds the vast majority of homelessness and housing-related support services in Wales, including homeless hostels, domestic abuse refuges, supported accommodation schemes and tenancy support services. The Supporting People budget has been reduced over recent years, from £139million in 2011/12 to £124million in 2019/20. Taking into account inflation, £139million in 2012 would equate to over £161million in 2018. This equates to a real terms funding cut of £37million from the Supporting People budget between 2012 and 2018.
Cymorth Cymru is the representative body for providers of homelessness, housing and support services in Wales. Our members provide a wide range of services that support people to overcome tough times, rebuild their confidence and live independently in their own homes. We act as the voice of the sector, influencing the development and implementation of policy, legislation and practice that affects our members and the people they support. We want to be part of a social movement that ends homelessness and creates a Wales where everyone can live safely and independently in their own homes and thrive in their communities.
Community Housing Cymru (CHC) represents more than 70 not-for-profit housing associations and community mutuals in Wales. CHC has a Board and a Senior Management Group, supported by specialist teams. CHC campaigns and lobbies on behalf of, and with, members to promote social housing and related services in Wales. The role of CHC within Wales is to:
- Be the leading voice of the social housing sector.
- Promote the social housing sector in Wales.
- Promote the relief of financial hardship through the sector’s provision of low cost social housing.
- Encourage and facilitate the provision, construction, improvement and management of low cost social housing by housing associations in Wales.
- Provide services, education, training, information, advice and support to our members.
Welsh Women’s Aid is the national charity in Wales working to end domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women. We are a federation of specialist organisations in Wales (working as part of a UK network of services) that provide lifesaving services to survivors of violence and abuse – women, men, children, families – and deliver a range of innovative preventative services in local communities. We have been at the forefront of shaping coordinated community responses and practice in Wales since we were established in 1978. We do this by campaigning for change and providing advice, consultancy, support and training to deliver policy and service improvements for survivors, families and communities.