A new report released today reveals funding for vital Welsh services including homeless hostels and women’s refugees 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.
“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’.” Katie Dalton, Director of Cymorth Cymru
“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.” Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru
“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.” Eleri Butler, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid