On World Homelessness Day (10th October), Climate Change Minister Julie James and Designated Member Sian Gwenllian visited Pobl’s Exchange House in Newport to meet with both Housing First colleagues and individuals they support & discuss plans to end homelessness in Wales.
Reforming housing law is a key part of the Programme for Government (2021-2026) and the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru to end all forms of homelessness in Wales, by making it ‘rare, brief and unrepeated’.
The proposals focus on improving prevention and early intervention, through the introduction of a package of reforms to create significant change to the existing Welsh homelessness and housing system.
Through legislative reform, the Welsh Government says:
• The risk of homelessness will be prevented at the earliest possible stage and responsibility for identification and prevention will be shared across the Welsh public service;
• Local Housing Authorities will offer a person-centred, trauma-informed service that is led by the needs of those facing homelessness;
• Those most likely to be impacted by homelessness will benefit from bespoke proposals to mitigate their risk.
The White Paper is heavily based on the findings of an Independent Expert Review Panel who were asked to review existing legislation and make recommendations to the Welsh Government. As part of this review, over 350 people (including a number of Pobl’s housing first customers) with lived experience of homelessness have shared their views to help develop the proposals.
Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Everyone in Wales should have somewhere to call home and today we’re marking a new chapter to help people remain in their homes and prevent anyone in Wales from experiencing homelessness. I would like to thank the Expert Review Panel whose report has helped shape our White Paper. Their recommendations will truly help to end homelessness here in Wales. I also want to thank the more than 350 people who shared their own experiences to help shape our reforms and ensure they are grounded in the reality of homelessness. This White Paper delivers our long-held view that homelessness is not just a housing issue. It sets out a radical and ambitious plan to ensure all services work together to spot the risk of homelessness early and take action to stop it from happening. For those who remain at risk, services will be co-ordinated in their response; to ensure the right help is in place, delivered by the right people, at the right time.”
Director of Support at Pobl, Nick Taylor, said: “We welcome the introduction of the White Paper to the Senedd today on World Homelessness Day. As the largest provider of support services in Wales for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Pobl supports multi-agency working with a preventative trauma informed focus ensuring intervention is received at the earliest opportunity.”
Designated Member, Sian Gwenllian added: “This White Paper sets out new proposals to end homelessness so that everyone has a home they can all their own and never finds themselves homeless. We are committed to new legal reforms and ways of working that will make a real difference to people’s lives and improve how we support some of the most vulnerable in our society.”